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Northside Catholic Academy Employs Marketing 'Big Gun' to Promote Auction

Northside Catholic Academy
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

EDGEWATER — A series of tongue-in-cheek videos from Edgewater's Northside Catholic Academy is creating a stir online.

The school "hired" M. Jimerson, a marketing "Big Gun," to promote its online auction and upcoming Spring Soiree fundraiser.

"My job is to just blast that word out there," Jimerson says in the series' first video, acting as an over-the-top marketing guru who uses a wide assortment of corporate-world stereotypes. "Just to make it digestible to people. Make people love it. It's going to feel good. It's gonna look good, and it's gonna be a success. That's my job."

The character doesn't stop there.

In subsequent videos, some featuring Northside students, he talks about "high-level" ideas, "fully functional" campaigns and "blasting out a full-experience website" that is "going to be experience — experience, experience, experience."

The videos, also posted on the school's Facebook page, have racked-up dozens of "likes" and shares from parents and supporters.

"It’s been so huge," said Kristi Erickson, who actually runs marketing for Northside. "Everyone loves it. Parents have been reposting it; It’s been a huge positive response."

Erickson said she tapped the skills of Peter Medlock, whose 3-year-old son attends the school. Medlock runs the video and social media team for Grainger, a company that sells industrial tools and products.

"I’m pretty much sure we just channeled everyone that we work with," Medlock said of the promotional videos that poke fun at corporate jargon and stereotypes.

Jimerson, the videos' star, also works at Grainger as a Web developer, and is Medlock's "go-to talent" for the company's other videos.

Jimerson, first name Mike, moonlights as an improv performer at Chicago venues such as iO Comedy Theater in Wrigleyville and Chemically Imbalanced Comedy in Lakeview.

"What I was thinking is to just be a ridiculous guy," Jimerson said, collecting inspiration from the countless marketing meetings he's participated in over the years. "It’s pretty easy to make fun of yourself. ... I actually do a lot of that garbage I talk about in that video."

The general narrative in the first six videos of the series, which will include two more to be released this week, follows Jimerson and his "crack team" of Northside students.

They brainstorm, strategize and fill out "creative-request forms, which is just a piece of paper with a bunch of words on it that tell people what they want," Jimerson said.

The videos include various interviews with members of his team. In video three, called "Meet the Marketing Team," he speaks with a young girl about her love for painting.

But all the Big Gun sees is "gobbledygook."

In another meeting, Jimerson commends a student's "great proposal."

"Um, I think what we have here is the skeleton," he says. "So, you know, what I'm looking for is what's the meat inside. ... So tell me, how do we turn this actually into a fully functional campaign that's going to pull in some cash?"

"I don't know," the young girl responds innocently.

He asks another team member to take a "high-level, 10,000-foot view," asking, "Where are we now? Where do you see us being 10 years from now?"

Erickson said the money raised through the auction and fundraiser event, which is expected to raise as much as $100,000, would help pay for computer tablets and other classroom technology.

The school's Spring Soiree is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 17 in Misercordia's ballroom, 6300 N. Ridge Ave.