Advertising/ Integrated Marketing Communications Alumnus Makes Living As Story Creator

I get to create something every day.

“I create stories for a living. So, I get to live out many of my dreams, through fiction or nonfiction.”

These are the words of Michael Oxner, an Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications alumnus, who graduated from the College of Business in 1994 as he describes his current mindset for his professional and personal life. By bringing relentless passion and big thinking to every project, Oxner has become a creative mastermind in the advertising world.

Taking each new experience head on, Oxner has been on a unique journey since graduating from Ferris State University. Instead of starting right into the career path, Oxner followed his passion for music and worked at a blues bar and restaurant, listening to live music every night.

However, Oxner soon went to work on completing a variety of advertising campaigns for many different companies including: Kmart, Ford’s car and trucks, the U.S. Navy, Onstar and Chevrolet. Currently, in his position as Creative Director at Doner, Oxner has created advertising campaigns for Owens Corning, Purell Hand Sanitizer and Hollywood Casinos.

“I get to create something every day,” said Oxner “There’s something extremely satisfying with starting with a blank page and weeks later having a finished TV spot, website, social campaign, etc.”

Every campaign allows Oxner to utilize his creativity to influence a different targeted audience. One of his favorite campaign to work on was the “Navy for Moms.” This campaign focus was on the mothers of sons and daughters enrolled or are considering joining the U.S. Navy. Oxner and his team developed a way for mothers to communicate with one another and ask any questions they may have. Over a short span of time, the program helped connect over 120,000 mothers that have been involved with the U.S. Navy in some way.

In exciting ventures, Oxner created an animatronic/digital billboard for Chevrolet that was located in Time Square (directly under where New Year’s Eve ball drops.) For over three years, millions of people were able to see Oxner’s designs and be inspired to shop Chevy.

From networking opportunities to the courses and projects that prepared him for his career, Oxner still reminisces about the time he spent at the College of Business and Ferris State University.

“College of Business professors; Susan Jones, Thomas Mehl, and Paul Jackson are not only good at their job, they also care about the students,” said Oxner.

Oxner has expressed his creativity by being a DJ for local clubs, events and weddings. His passion for music gives him the unique opportunity to apply music to his Creative Director role and encourages students to do the same.  

“Be passionate about what you do,” said Oxner, “Whatever your job is out of college, it might not be exactly what you want to do every day. But, if you do what you love on the side, and get really good at it, people will hire you to do it.”