After months of preparation, 15 BYU-Idaho students placed second in the regional portion of the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition this year. They competed against eight other colleges including the University of Oregon.
According to the Competition’s website, “The National Student Advertising Competition is the premier college advertising competition that provides more than 2,000 college students the real-world experience of creating a strategic advertising/marketing/media campaign for a corporate client.”
Each competition has a client present a case study to 120 to 150 colleges around the United States. Adobe funded the competition this year and presented students with a 30-page case study regarding their new program; the Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertisers.
Students dedicate weeks researching and surveying to solve the company’s problem. Having such high-level clients results in high expectations, said Joshua Peters, a senior studying communication.
Peters acted as the group’s president for the second semester in a row.
“My favorite part is being able to participate in a team that got things done and had fun doing it,” Peters said. “Everyone was passionate about it.”
Beyond giving students an opportunity to experience real-world problem solving, students are sometimes offered a chance at networking. The competition normally takes students to cities where they can explore new advertising agencies and talk with people in the field. This year’s destination was scheduled in Portland, Oregon. When the coronavirus hit, the competition became virtual.
“We didn’t know if we were gonna participate at one point so everyone kind of lost their fire,” Peters said. “But everyone was able to pull it together and really apply themselves. We all did some amazing things together.”
Students in the competition cannot rely on their faculty advisors to win for them. The advisor is meant only to challenge their students’ ideas and help them practice their presentations. Jack LaBaugh, a marketing professor, acted as the team’s faculty advisor for the first time this semester.
“We have a lot of fun and it’s a great place to market yourself and position yourself to get a job at a big agency,” LaBaugh said.
The next AAF competition will begin Fall semester. While students studying advertising might seem to hold the most interest in participating, all students are welcome to join the team.
“Next year we’re going for the first place win,” Peters said. “You receive a lot of recognition, it’s a good thing to put on a portfolio, especially if you’re going into advertising but even if you’re an English or visual arts major.”