Grand Valley students topped those from 20 other universities to take first place in the American Advertising Federation’s District 6 National Student Advertising Competition held in Southfield on April 13. This is the first time Grand Valley has won the title and the opportunity to compete for the national championship in Austin, Texas, in June.
With the goal of giving students real-life, ad-agency experience, the AAF challenged nearly 200 teams nationwide to develop and design a $100 million, 12-month campaign for Nissan to increase brand awareness and market share, specifically to multicultural millennials. Each team worked for two semesters on their campaign, compiled their results in a printed plan book and condensed their plan for a 20-minute presentation by five team members given at the competition to judging teams comprised of advertising professionals and Nissan marketing executives.
Grand Valley’s team of 25 advertising and public relations students, with School of Communications’ faculty co-advisors Roy Winegar, assistant professor, and Frank Blossom, affiliate professor, spent fall semester researching, visiting five dealerships, taking vehicle test drives and attending major auto shows in the Midwest. The winter semester was spent preparing their campaign and competition pitch.
Patrick Vander Kolk, presentation team account executive, said their campaign touched on aspects of the dealerships, to their social media accounts and print and television ads. “The competition was intense to say the least,” he said. “It was very fulfilling to me to have our competitors congratulate us afterwards and wish us the best at nationals.”