DETROIT, Feb. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The Mars Agency has announced its first-ever partnership with Detroit’s College for Creative Studies (CCS). The leader in shopper marketing has joined forces with the College’s nationally renowned advertising department to unveil Cross Stitch Creative, an agency-led next-generation idea house with roots in academia. As part of the initial five-year partnership, The Mars Agency will work to emulate an agency atmosphere for students planning to pursue creative careers in advertising and shopper marketing.

“To best serve our clients, we needed to add innovative ways to meet the needs of today,” said Global CEO of The Mars Agency Ken Barnett. Ken continued, “We need to incorporate the next generation into the ideation process in order to create an effective path to purchase today and in the future; as much as these students will learn from us, we will learn from them in a truly collaborative setting.”

Agency leadership has anticipated the launch of Cross Stitch Creative for quite some time, and The Mars Agency’s CEO North America Rob Rivenburgh expects the partnership will yield immeasurable results for all parties involved. “We are cross-stitching these students into our organization. They will have a profound influence on how our agency thinks from a cross-departmental perspective, which in turn will allow us to deliver increasingly authentic and fresh ideas to our clients. The students are being paid by the agency and will earn college credit as well, and perhaps most importantly, they’ll be able to walk away with pride in knowing that ideas sparked from their group have made a real impact on the industry. It’s truly a win for everyone involved,” he said.

For the winter 2016 semester, ten CCS students have been selected from a pool of applicants as the inaugural Cross Stitch Creative team, embarking on a curriculum designed specifically for this real-world internship seminar by agency professionals in conjunction with CCS advertising faculty.

“What separates CCS as an institution is the exposure we give our students to real-world experience,” said Richard L. Rogers, president of CCS. “We pride ourselves on giving students access to professional working environments by cultivating strong relationships with industry-leading companies. Working with The Mars Agency to launch the Cross Stitch Creative allows us to give students exciting opportunities with Fortune 500 clients, who will in turn have direct access to innovative millennial thinking. It’s a great example of a mutually beneficial partnership between business and academia, and we’re grateful to The Mars Agency for making it possible.”

The 15-week program will take students through a series of expert-led lectures, field exercises, rapid ideation sessions and, most importantly, the opportunity to solve real challenges identified by clients of The Mars Agency – some of the largest brand names in shopper marketing. Topics covered will range from shopper platforms and consumer promotions to content development and marketing initiatives focused on business growth.

Several clients of The Mars Agency have already expressed interest in engaging Cross Stitch Creative in ideation sessions focused on trends and technologies currently influencing the way consumers shop and buy. With the rapid evolution of influencing factors such as social media and the Internet of Things, a Millennial-unique perspective is welcomed by professionals throughout the industry. Students will work in close collaboration with cross-functional teammates from the creative, strategic planning and digital innovation departments at The Mars Agency.

About The Mars Agency
The Mars Agency creates Unifying Ideassm that drive profitable, sustainable growth for brands and retailers. Proudly independent and woman-owned for more than 42 years, this global shopper marketing agency is both respected and retained by Fortune 500 clients for its ability to build connective marketing solutions that are brand inspired, shopper focused and retail activated.

About The College for Creative Studies
Located in the heart of Detroit, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) educates artists and designers to be leaders in the creative professions. A private, fully accredited college, CCS enrolls more than 1,400 students pursuing Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees.

Students in the BFA program can major in Advertising: Copywriting, Advertising Design, Crafts, Entertainment Arts, Fashion Accessories Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, Product Design, and Transportation Design, in addition to a dual major Art Education program. Students in the MFA program can major in Color and Materials Design, Interaction Design, Integrated Design, and Transportation Design. The College also offers non-credit courses in the visual arts through its Continuing and Precollege Studies programs and opportunities for youth through its Community Arts Partnerships programs.