Each year at BYU-Idaho, students participate in the American Advertising Federation (AAF), a national organization that works with universities and agencies to compete and recognize ingenuity in the advertising world.
BYU-I’s AAF chapter participated in the Google AdWords competition in Spring Semester 2012.
“AdWords is the keyword that you search for in the Google menu bar, so when you’re looking for a photographer in Rexburg, you type in ‘Rexburg photographer.’ That is a keyword, or ‘AdWord’ as Google calls it,” said Thane Clark, president of BYU-I’s AAF chapter and a senior studying communication. AdWords allows an advertiser to use or buy words to promote an advertisement.
According to the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC), “Over 50,000 students from almost 100 countries have participated [in the AdWords competition] in past years.”
AAF faculty advisor Beth Hendricks received notification of the AdWords competition, and BYU-I’s AAF chapter joined the competition, last spring.
Students developed an advertising campaign for a real business or organization using Google+ and AdWords. They were provided with a $250 budget that had to last for a six-week period.
Clark said that the strategy is to buy words that people are searching for and create ads, then Google puts the ads at the top of a search.
“There’s quite a deal of strategy involved when trying to figure out what words people might be searching for and how they would be searching,” Clark said.
Teams for the AdWords competition consist of 3 to 6 people; students from AAF that chose to participate divided into two separate teams. One team campaigned for the company Bear Lake, and ended with a “Strong Campaign,” the highest achievement level in the AdWords competition.
“There is nothing else like this that we offer on campus. [It’s] a chance where you get to go to a regional competition, and for those lucky few, a national competition,” said Clark. “We went to nationals two years ago and what an experience that was.”
Clark said that students that had the chance to go to nationals met with the “top dogs” of the industry, including those who worked on commercials for Old Spice and other reputable businesses. BYU-Idaho students had the opportunity to exchange business cards and network with experienced individuals.
Currently BYU-Idaho students are working on the Glidden Paint Campaign, a brand awareness program. “The objective of our campaign is to help people understand that Wal-Mart is a distributor of Glidden paint only—you can only get Glidden paint at Wal-Mart,” said Clark. “Really it’s a multi-faceted campaign in that you have Wal-Mart and Glidden paint as both being companies that we are trying to investigate thoroughly, and help them best understand their problems and how we can solve those problems.”
The AAF regional competition will take place in the springtime. There are eight other universities involved in the Northwestern region, which includes Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
AAF members welcome any BYU-Idaho student to join their chapter. Presently, there are 20 participants in BYU-Idaho’s AAF chapter; about 30 participants were involved in the AdWords competition.
To join AAF, students must register for the Comm 397 AAF section course, and interview with Hendricks. “[Hendricks] facilitates the screening process so we know that people who are there actually want to be there,” Clark said.
Clark invited anybody that is interested in advertising, PR, or other integrated media and strategy development to join AAF and “give it a try.”
AAF students meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m. in Spori 265. For more information, students can contact Thane Clark at email@example.com or (913) 609-3461.