BETH HENDRICKS | Courtesy Photo

BETH HENDRICKS | Courtesy Photo

BYU-Idaho students competed in the district level of the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) April 10, 2015.

Jesse Fortenberry, a senior studying communication, said the NSAC gives students an opportunity to participate in a national campaign.

He said in order to take part in the NSAC, they needed to be members of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), since that is the organization that holds the competition.

In the NSAC, a major company joins with the AAF to set up an advertising competition among students from over 200 schools nationwide.

This year, the company was Pizza Hut.

They gave the students a case study based on a real-life situation that the company is facing.

It included their campaign overview, information about their product and the current status of their advertising efforts.

Students across the nation created campaigns that would solve the dilemma the company is facing, according to the American Advertising Federation.

Cira Fear, a senior studying communication, said many big-time professional advertisers are also members of this organization, and some companies will not hire people who have not taken part in the NSAC competition before.

Fortenberry said the campaign included media planning, budgeting, media purchasing, deciding what advertisements to print, figuring out the PR strategy and deciding what new and traditional media is going to look like in the campaign.

He said said this required a lot of work from them.

“We had two semesters: fall was all research, coming up with the case study for it, and then this past semester was putting together the campaign book,” Fear said.

Jordan Powell, a senior studying communication, said the team then worked on creating a pitch for two weeks. He said that during those two weeks, the team would spend up to three or four hours per night working on the pitch script.

After all of their work, the team competed at the district competition April 10 at Boise State University.

The team pitched their campaign to a panel of advertising professionals as well as an associate brand manager from Pizza Hut, according to AAF District XI.

BYU-I students took third place at the competition, University of Oregon took first and Montana State University took second, according to AAF District XI.

Though this is where the competition road ended for the entire team, there was an area of individual competition that took place which Fortenberry won.

Fortenberry said as the winner, he will have all of his expenses paid as he attends the event on June 10-13.

“The district has what is called an enhancement program,” Fortenberry said. “The enhancement program is meant to basically raise awareness and also raise the level of competition within our district.”

Fortenberry said each school selects a nominee who will undergo an interview by a group of professionals. The winner is chosen based on their performance during the interview.

“They basically select who they feel like would be the best fit to represent the district,” Fortenberry said.

Fortenberry said after being interviewed by a creative director, an agency director and a digital director of advertising agencies at the same time, he was chosen to represent the district at the NSAC event in Las Vegas.

He said he will have opportunities to have and record interviews with professionals there.

He said he plans to bring information back to his fellow students.

Beth Hendricks, faculty member at BYU-I and mentor of the team, said she loves to see the students succeed.

She said she always tells her students they need to, “Get off campus and enter professional competitions.”

Powell said taking part in a professional competition had many benefits — ranging from experience, to networking opportunities and even to possible job offers.

He said students should take part in at least some kind of professional competition.

“Doing some of the stuff that’s outside of your curriculum is what’s going to set you apart,” Powell said.