By Catie Schultz (@CatieSchultz17)
After months of hard work and long hours, the preparation has paid off for the students involved in the Strategic Campaigns in Advertising course, offered by the Department of Journalism. The team placed third among seven other schools in the American Advertising Federation District 8 at the National Student Advertising Competition in Minneapolis on April 22.
“Placing third in District 8 is a big achievement for our advertising students – it shows how their high-quality creative and media skills edged out competing campaigns,” Dr. Sara Hansen, who teaches the campaigns course, said. “We are exceptionally proud of these young professionals who pushed their skills and worked very hard to win. As well, we are proud of the caliber of our advertising program in the Department of Journalism at UWO, which helped them prepare with the strategy, design and digital skills for competition at this level.”
AAF District 8 is made up of four states: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The competition at this level is high, due to the caliber of schools that are in District 8. Teams from bigger schools like the University of Minnesota, the University of North Dakota and the University of South Dakota, among others, present their campaign strategies in front of judges, who are professionals within the advertising and communication industry. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is the only school from Wisconsin that participates in NSAC, which displays the quality of the program and its students.
The work leading up to the competition involves students opting to take Research in Strategic Communication to gain insight through primary and secondary research for a national brand based on a case study. The client brand for NSAC 2017 was Tai Pei Frozen Food. Work in the Advertising Media class also helps with developing media plans that could ultimately be used for the final campaign. Lastly, work completed in Strategic Campaigns in Advertising prepares students for the real world by working as a team in various roles to develop the advertising plan for the brand. Based on this work, the team develops a plans book and presentation that is to be judged at NSAC.
The road to Minneapolis and NSAC was extensive, but once we got there, it became a life-changing experience for all involved. “The best part of the competition was honestly the compliments the judges gave us,” Cally Kobza said. “They called our notifications genius and our commercial eye candy. Those compliments from people that high up in the marketing and advertising fields mean a lot.”
Multiple students said that this experience helped prepare them to work collaboratively with others. “This has prepared me for working in IWM [Interactive Web Management] by allowing me to work with other creative people,” Emily Ackerman said. “Even for people who think they can’t be creative, it was great to show them a physical representation of their ideas. It has taught me to be patient and listen to everyone’s ideas to make sure I help create the best product.”
Other students enjoyed the overall experience. “My favorite part of the NSAC competition was just hearing our presentation and then comparing it to others,” Dakotah Armbruster said. “I’m glad ours stood apart because it’s what made us unique as a school. Hearing other presentations was cool because we got to listen in on what other teams took away from Tai Pei, and the overall Minneapolis experience was amazing as a whole, it gave us a taste of the real world. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”