A&M-Kingsville Students Pitch Ad Campaign to National Non-Profit for American Advertising Federation Contest
KINGSVILLE - April 22, 2009
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On Thursday, April 23, a group of communications students from Texas A&M University-Kingsville will travel to Houston and have a true, executive-level experience a few years early: pitching an advertising campaign to a corporate client.
Ten undergraduate students and two graduate students make up this year’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team from A&M-Kingsville. Sponsored by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the competition gives college and university students the chance to develop an original advertising campaign for a corporate sponsor, and present that campaign at one of 15 different AAF district competitions. Winners from these district wide competitions advance to a nationwide final.
This year, A&M-Kingsville will be one of 15 universities from Texas and Oklahoma competing in District 10. All will be presenting their ad campaigns for this year’s NSAC corporate sponsor, the not-for-profit Century Council, an organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. Specifically, NSAC teams were asked to design ad campaigns that address the problem of binge drinking.
The team is advised by Dr. Manuel C. Flores, associate professor and chair of the communications and theatre arts department, and Todd Lucas, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Last year, Flores and Lucas took a team to the district wide contest for the first time since 2001.
According to Lucas, each NSAC team was provided with data from Century Council last semester. It is up to each team to follow-up on this data, and further it through focus groups, polling or other methods the team feels will benefit the ad campaign. “Last fall’s marketing research class, taught by Dr. Flores, confirmed and added to the Century Council data. Some of those same students went on to join the NSAC team at the start of the spring semester.
“The data is really critical, because it supports the actions the team takes in its campaign.”
Flores said that this year, the NSAC team has attended AAF seminars in Corpus Christi and Houston to prepare for the contest. The Houston seminar, in particular, was a notable experience for the A&M-Kingsville group. “We’re competing against a lot of big colleges and universities—the University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech University among them. When we went to the Houston AAF seminar, our students were a little taken aback by the commitment and the drive of the students from the big schools.
“After that initial shock, our team came to realize that they have the talent to compete against those schools, and we all believe they will do well.”
The team designed their campaign based around strict NSAC guidelines. All of the campaign had to be mapped out in a 24-page plans book, due at AAF Headquarters in Washington D.C. March 30. After that deadline was met, five members of the team assumed the roles of the presenters for the contest, and will pitch the campaign to a representative of the Century Council and advertising executive judges.
“There’s more to it than just knowing the data,” said Lucas. “You’re presenting this to a person that knows the company from the inside out. It’s a real advertising client.”
Lucas noted that District 10 is one of, if not the most, competitive district of the fifteen, with five of the last 10 NSAC winners coming from it. That being said Flores believes the A&M-Kingsville team will finish among the top fifty percent or better, and get that much more prepared to enter the workforce.
“By exposing the students to this competition, they’ll see who they’re going up against for jobs in the future,” said Lucas. “Students that serve on NSAC teams have gotten job interviews just because they competed.”
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