Lakers win third place in National Student Advertising Competition

GVL / Courtesy - Robin Spring
National Student Advertising Competition Team (NSAC)

Robin Spring

GVL / Courtesy – Robin Spring National Student Advertising Competition Team (NSAC)

Shae Slaughter

Grand Valley State University’s National Student Advertising Competition team (NSAC) traveled to South Bend, Indiana recently to compete in the American Advertising Federation District 6 competition. The NSAC team took home two awards and placed third in their district.

The National Student Advertising Competition is an annual event that involves a corporate sponsor, which gives a case study for the student teams to examine and explore. The case studies reflect on real-world situations and the company’s current problems with advertising. Each team then develops a campaign suited for their client’s needs before presenting their ideas to a panel of judges.

This year’s corporate sponsor was Snapple, which was looking to create a brand new marketing campaign with a focus on the tagline “Snap Out of the Ordinary.” Research from Snapple shows that many Americans get stuck in a rut when it comes to jobs and everyday life, making them ‘workaholics.’ As a company, Snapple wished to help its audience embrace the better things in life which is in line with Snapple’s earlier marketing and the idea that they are “Made from the Best Stuff.”

The team spent two semesters formulating a 27-page plan book and a 20 minute presentation.They researched Snapple and their clientele extensively to be able to craft the best possible campaign, focusing in on the ideas that family, individuality and community should be priorities. GVSU’s team created a campaign centered around a brand character named Johnny Snappleseed who focused on helping people branch out of their everyday lives and focus on their target ideas. The trend of Johnny then grows to a ‘Snapplehood’ with more people joining and growing the idea.

The NSAC team also devised other ideas like putting little challenges under Snapple caps rather than facts in order to help people break out of their normal routines. In its entirety, the campaign had many different details that helped to allow the team their third place finish. District 6 is considered a mega-district, meaning it consistently is one of the largest divisions in competition.

GVSU’s NSAC team competed against other large schools with prestigious advertising programs such as Michigan State University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, but held their own.

“Our third place accomplishment highlights the phenomenal education and experience GVSU offers,” said Ben Kaluski, project manager for the GVSU team.

The NSAC team was carefully selected to include 19 students in the advertising and public relations program at GVSU. Each application was reviewed to look for a variety of skills needed to complete the team. One of these team members, Aubrey Leko, won the competition’s Best Presenter Award.

“I couldn’t have done it without the rest of the presentation team. Our endless hours of practice paid off,” Leko said, who was also the team’s creative director.

GVSU has placed in the top four of their district for the last seven years, proving the Laker NSAC team could see great success in the future.

“I could not be more proud of this team,” said Robin Spring, NSAC team faculty adviser. “They took the challenge and had the grit to see it through.”