Paris Metzger '15: Creating Advertising Rooted in Empathy

For Paris Metzger ’15, advertising starts with listening to people, not telling them what they need and why they need it.

“Your job is to talk to and with people, and the impact of learning how to be a healthy and respectful communicator cannot be understated, especially in advertising,” says Metzger, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the University in business administration with a concentration in marketing.

“Scranton set me up to tackle this, to understand and work with many different types of people. Scranton doesn't just teach you what you need to know, but what you should know, about how to be a better person, a better friend, a better colleague, a better part of society.”

Metzger, who graduated from Scranton in 2015, works in advertising as a senior brand strategist at Evoke, an international marketing, media and communications agency for health and wellness companies. Before that, she spent five years at an ad agency in New York City.

Empathizing with Consumers

“Growing up, I thought advertising was manipulative. I didn't want to sell somebody something that they didn't need, especially coming from Scranton and a Jesuit education of serving others and being sincere, authentic and respectful,” Metzger says. “But the more I learned about it, I realized that there was a real opportunity to work differently and make a difference through communications. I found an agency called Badger & Winters, and their whole philosophy is to empathize with consumers, not to just say, ‘Hey, buy our stuff.’ And I loved it.”

At Badger & Winters, Metzger worked on advertising for whiskey, a weight loss app and women's activewear, plus makeup, sunscreen and moisturizer brands.

Working with Patients and Health Care Providers

In her current position with Evoke, Metzger focuses on pharmaceuticals, specifically prescriptions for gastrointestinal diseases. 

"My responsibilities revolve around research about patients and health care providers, as well as interviewing patients and understanding their thoughts, feelings and experiences, not only with their disease but with different therapies, ours and competitive," says Metzger, who is based in Montclair, NJ. "I do a lot of analyzing and a lot of listening, putting pieces together that seemingly feel disparate to generate insights that help unlock a means to connect a patient to a potential therapy or position a brand in a way that makes patients feel seen, heard and understood." 

Then, she takes all that information and works with the creative team of art directors, copy writers and graphic designers to create messaging through emails, online banner ads and scripts and storyboards for TV commercials. 

Inspired by Honors Program Mentor

"All the classes you take as part of the business administration degree help round you out for whatever industry you might find yourself advertising for," say Metzger, who was also part of the Business Leadership Honors Program and got her first experience in brand management with her mentor from that program. 

She was matched with a local female entrepreneur who owned a bath and body product company and was launching a custom perfume studio. Metzger worked as an intern with the company, now called Noteology, during the spring semester of her junior year at Scranton. 

"I was not only a retail associate, but I was also helping her in the back end of the business and really got to learn about building a brand from scratch," Metzger says. "I loved it so much I joined as a brand coordinator my senior year, helping with marketing and packaging design, which was an incredible opportunity from the mentor program." 

Paying the Scranton Experience Forward

From that first marketing experience as a junior in college to the work she is doing today at Evoke, Metzger is motivated by what she learned at Scranton.

"Evoke fits very well with what Scranton instilled in me, which is to go forth and set the world on fire and to those much is given, much is expected," Metzger says. "Evoke's message is all about making health care more human and not thinking of it as a business transaction, but as a means of using communication to connect with patients and health care providers and make a difference. I was offered such a wonderful education, such an enriching experience, the least I can do is pay it forward and give back in ways that best serve my talents but also excite me."