MSU Advertising Students Win District Case Competition, Proceed to Nationals

Posted on: April 16, 2013

Michigan State University's advertising team, MSUAAF, wrote Spartan history in Merrillville, Ind. Friday, when the group made an impressive first place finish at the District 6 National Student Advertising Competition (NSCAC) hosted by the American Advertising Federation (AAF). The district is the second largest in the country, with 18 teams competing from Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. The National Competition will take place in Phoenix from June 5-8, 2013. 

Each year, a corporate sponsor provides participating schools with a case study outlining the history of the company and its current advertising situation, tasking students to research the product and competition, identify problems and develop a fully integrated marketing campaign. The 2013 sponsor, Glidden paint, challenged teams to increase awareness and sales through the company's exclusive relationship with Walmart and a limited $10 million budget. Campaigns are communicated in each team's 20-page plans book and 20-minute presentation, which are scored by judges to determine the overall winner.

"After coming so close every year, placing second or fourth, it felt so good to hear Michigan State called for the big award," said MSUAAF presenter and vice president Alexandrea Andersen. "Everyone jumped up with screams and tears--we were so emotionally invested with all the work and time we put into this one."

For Glidden, MSUAAF knew that simplifying the painting and shopping process was key to convincing Walmart shoppers to give Glidden a shot. By improving in-store awareness and shopping experiences while leveraging cost-effective digital advertising, MSUAAF outlined a campaign that scored a significant seven points higher than the next competing school.

The team will present the campaign again at ADMERICA in Phoenix, June 5-8, to contend for the national title. The event is also the AAF organization's national conference--the premiere advertising event of the year--and will host guest speakers such as Pete Cashmore, CEO of and Lisa Cochrane, the genius behind the Allstate Mayhem Man campaign.

"From the very beginning the goal was to win, but we never let that get in the way of what was really happening," said Lukas Miller, president of MSUAAF. "Building a team, learning the skills and coming together as a family to put together a product that we are proud of trumps the outcome of nationals."

MSUAAF works throughout the school year as a real-world advertising agency. Through conducting research, developing strategy and ideas, creating advertisements, forming media plans and presenting the campaign, the 31-person team simulates every function of a major advertising firm. Gaining real-world experience before entering the workforce is invaluable.

"Some of the members are video, journalism, English or sociology majors. You don't have to be in advertising to lend your skills to the team," said Miller.

Students may receive class credit for participating in MSUAAF, substituting their capstone campaign class required of advertising majors. Interested individuals must apply to gain entrance into the class by submitting a resume and participating in interviews.

For 40 years MSUAAF has competed in NSAC, winning the first national title in 1973 and once again in 1981. The College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Department of Advertising and Public Relations, and MSUAAF team are set to bring back a third win for MSU.



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