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Two Major Clients Sign on to New Millennial-Focused Integrated Communication Agency

New Agency is Led by Professionals, Staffed by Students and Inspired by Faculty

Agency-Flat-G-Bigger-Rectangle-HeightGAINESVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 24, 2015) – The Florida Department of Citrus and Mexican theme park Experiencias Xcaret have signed on as initial clients for The Agency, a new integrated communication firm focused on the millennial sector.

The Agency, which was officially dedicated today, is a unit of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. It will provide an immersive learning experience for advertising and public relations students working for real-world clients.

Other clients include several University of Florida departments such as the International Center, the Health Science Center and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

In addition to developing strategies and campaigns, The Agency will be a center for thought leadership through the development of a nationwide Millennial Research Core — an online panel of thousands of millennials that will provide insights on a number of topics including buying habits, social media usage and brand loyalty.

“We are excited to celebrate the dedication of the agency with our friends and alumni,” said UF College of Journalism and Communications Dean Diane McFarlin. “The Agency is already carving out a national niche in millennial marketing. Staffed by an ever-fresh team of UF students on a campus with 50,000 young adults, The Agency is well positioned to help guide the industry on this topic.”

As a contrast to student-run agencies around the country, employees will draw from the experience of Andy Hopson in his role as executive director. His 30-year career leading and integrating industry heavyweights during a critical transition from traditional media into the digital era will inform campaigns and provide rich learning opportunities for students.

Hopson has played key leadership roles at several nationally known agencies, including Ruder Finn, Burson-Marsteller, Publicis and Ogilvy, representing such companies as Nestle, Smucker’s, Southwest Airlines, Westin Hotels and the CDC. He served as President & COO of the EvansGroup from 1993 to 1998, and then served in the same role with Publicis Dialog, launching its U.S. operations after its acquisition of the EvansGroup.

The Agency will use revenue to expand the professional staff and extend offerings for both clients and students. To work toward that goal, Kimberly Bastoni was brought in on a contract basis to direct research efforts and launch the Millennial Research Core, drawing from her experience in previously held senior positions at GfK and Kantar (TNS and Millward Brown).

A week-long recruitment campaign earlier this year garnered almost 300 applications, which an intensive review process narrowed down to an inaugural staff of 57 students specializing in various communication disciplines. Students range from freshmen to graduate students and study public relations, advertising, journalism, telecommunications, psychology, economics and more.

“The college has always made it a priority to bridge the industry and the classroom,” said Ryan Baum, assistant to the executive director, “but now they are tearing down the walls in between. This is a rare opportunity for our students, but even more so for the companies we serve.”

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About the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications is driving innovation and engagement across the disciplines of advertising, journalism, public relations and telecommunication. The strength of its programs, faculty, students and alumni — in research and in practice — has earned the college ongoing recognition as one of the best in the nation among its peers. The college offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates, both online and on campus. The college’s strength is drawn from both academic rigor and experiential learning. CJC students have the opportunity to gain practical experience in the Innovation News Center, which generates content across multiple platforms, and The Agency, a strategic communication agency that began operation in 2015. The college includes seven broadcast and digital media properties and the nation’s only program in public interest communications.


Quenta Vettel,, 352-278-5726

Ryan Baum,, 407-967-1708

Posted: February 24, 2015
Category: College News, The Agency
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