Thoughts on Advertising Competition

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By Kristen Glazer–

Ten months ago 15 seniors at the University of Scranton began their journey in the Advertising Competition class taught by Professor Stacy Smulowitz.  A six-credit, two-semester-long course was given a client and a goal: State Farm Insurance® asked us to create an entire rebranding advertising campaign while focusing on 18-25 year olds as our target audience.  We were given a budget of 40 million dollars and immediately got to work. 

We, being part of the target audience demographic, know what interests us, motivates us and flat out bores us. As important as it is, insurance is unfortunately not among one of the topics that excites 18-25 year olds right now.  With the combined results of extensive surveys, focus groups and online questionnaires we figured out that 86% of our target audience are covered by their parents’ insurance, 58% have heard of renters insurance and 65% say once they are independent they will use the same insurance company as their parents.  From this essential information we created an entire campaign, which included commercials, magazine advertisements, billboards, an extensive concert series, and a bus tour with promotional giveaways that included t-shirts, rubber bracelets, sunglasses and water bottles.

This entire campaign was built, created and perfected for the National Students Advertising Competition held by the American Advertising Federation.  The University of Scranton competed at the NSAC on May 1st in Manhattan, New York against other schools in the North East division.  Only the first place team was granted eligibility to move on from the regional competition to the national competition, which will be held in Orlando, Florida on June 10th

Among the 15 students in the Advertising Competition class only five students were allowed to present the campaign at the competition.  The five students who presented the campaign to the judges were Maribeth Hobson, Nicole Morgan, Elizabeth Hurley, Mary Desmarais and me, Kristen Glazer.

When the results finally came in there was a lot of tension, stress, sleep-deprived faces and exhausted minds.  The scores finally came up on the large projection screen and George Washington captured the first place spot, making them eligible for the national competition next month. As expected, we first reacted with disbelief.  Our disbelief slowly turned in to disappointment then eventually acceptance. 

While it is of course discouraging that all of our hard work over the past ten months did not get us to the national level, none of us hold any regrets for participating in the class or for competing in the competition.  We understand that it was a growing experience both as a team and as individuals.  We learned an incredible amount about the advertising business and the public relations culture.  We also gained valuable tips on public speaking and presentation giving from Professor Mellon, adjunct professor of communication, which is essential for the career we all wish to go in to.

The Advertising Competition class for the 2009-2010 academic year would like to give a sincere thank you to Professor Smulowitz, Professor Mellon, Dr. Reavy, Dr. Mohammad, Professor Pavlick, Professor Holmes, Professor Strain and the rest of the Communication Department.  We could not have had such a fulfilling experience without the help from all of you. Thank you!

Representing The University of Scranton are, seated from left, Stacy Smulowitz, Ph.D cand., instructor; Brianne McMillan; Julia Gallagher; Emily MacPhee; and Kristen Glazer.  Standing from left are Megan Phelan; Nicole Morgan; Amanda Ceo; Mary Desmarais; Bethany Phillips; Elizabeth Hurley; Casey Wunsch; Maribeth Hobson; Erin Harrison; Elizabeth Burke; and Damien McDonald.

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