Michigan State University’s advertising team, American Advertising Federation (MSU AAF), had much to be proud of in Southfield, Michigan on April 13 when the group made an impressive fourth place finish in District 6 at the AAF’s National Student Advertising Competition. The district is the second largest in the country with 20 teams competing from Michigan, Indiana and Illinois schools.
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 2012 sponsor, Nissan USA, challenged teams to increase the company’s share in the multi-cultural 18-29 year old market, with a $100 million budget. Campaigns are communicated in each team’s 32-page plans book and 20-minute presentation, which are scored by judges at the competition to determine the overall winner.
For Nissan USA, MSU AAF found storytelling and digital interaction was highly effective to reach the target rather than relying on stereotypes and industry conventions. Taking classic fairytales like Snow White and Goldilocks and showing how the stories can be altered with the introduction of Nissan vehicle features was the strategy of the campaign. MSUAAF works throughout the year as a real-world advertising agency. Through conducting research, developing ideas, creating advertisements, forming a media plan and presenting the campaign, the 35-person team simulates every function a major advertising firm would. Gaining such real world experience before graduation is invaluable.
"AAF isn't just a club, it isn't school and it isn't work. AAF is an experience. There's nothing else like it at the university," said Emily Misko, a senior and creative director of MSUAAF.
"You’ll get more out of AAF in one year than you will your whole college career. You make really great friends as well.”
Students 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 participate in interviews.
For forty years, MSUAAF has competed in NSAC, winning the first national title ever and winning a second time since.
American Advertising Federation
MSU Chapter President