TCU Team Places Third at NSAC Competition

a group photo of the TCU NSAC team
By Christina Ligi, News and Media Studies major, Class of 2019

A team of 20 students from TCU’s Strategic Communication department received three awards after competing in the 2019 National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) in Shreveport, Louisiana. They were one of 14 teams participating in the competition, which is sponsored by The American Advertising Federation (AAF) and allows college students a real-world campaign experience for a corporate client.

In order to maintain fairness and prevent any preferred biases amongst the judges, the teams are all assigned numbers by the organization. NSAC rules prohibit any use of the university colors or university slogans. The university’s name is not even affiliated with the team. This year, the TCU team’s name was Team 909.

Students were evaluated through an application and interview process to represent TCU as a NSAC team member. Out of the 50 applicants, 20 star performance students were selected.

Once the team was chosen, the students were divided into smaller groups dependent on individual focus areas of the presentation. These groups included research, production, creative, strategy, media and project management. Lisa Darquea and Stanton Cross led the team as the two project managers.

This year’s corporate sponsor was Wienerschnitzel, the world’s largest hot dog chain. The team’s purpose was to change the conversation of the hotdog and “elevate the perception of the hotdog.”

Strategic Communication Instructor Antonio Banos was the 2019 faculty advisor and last year’s co-advisor. Banos said the main challenge the team faced was to stray away from associating all hotdogs under the perception of Wienerschnitzel, while still promoting Wienerschnitzel.

In order to prepare for this event, the team underwent three strategic boot camps this past fall and completed specific assignments over winter break. Over the last nine weeks, they have engaged in three NSAC-athons. These events allow Team 909 to work non-stop with each other from start to finish. The team would begin work Fridays at 4 p.m. and pitch their presentation Sundays at noon.

Jamie Clapp, senior Strategic Communication major and NSAC team member says, “I was pleased by how well our team gets along. It can be difficult to throw 20 college students together and expect them to seamlessly work together. With us, however, we work great together and have fun while doing it.”

TCU’s slogan for this competition was “It’s the schnitz.”

The competition process is two-fold. First, the team submits the campaign book in advance. Then the judges will score the teams on both the book and presentation on competition day. Along with industry professionals,the panel of judges consisted of top executives of the corporate client, Wienerschnitzel.

TCU has been competing in NSAC for more than 30 years and has been awarded a district level win, but has never successfully competed at the national level.

NSAC extends the opportunity to college students to engage in hands-on internship experience and pitch creative ideas for a real business. The student participants say the practice and research skills are irreplaceable.

In preparation for the competition, Clapp learned that relying on her teammates is crucial. “If there is something I am not good at, I have other people there to help, and vice versa. Because of the time of preparation and research necessary, organization is key to stay on top of deadlines and tasks.”

The TCU NSAC team came away with three awards: 3rd place division title, Spirit Award and Lisa Darquea, senior Strategic Communication team member, was awarded Best Presenter.

Student Lisa Darquea on stage holding her Best Presenter Award

Lisa Darquea holding her Best Presenter Award

After receiving the Best Presenter Award, Darquea says, “I am extremely grateful and affirmed by this. My team has always support this quality of mine and uplifted me through this. Public speaking has always been a passion of mine, so I was truly thankful to have been able to represent the team and all our hard work in that way, and be recognized for doing it well.”

The Spirit Award goes to the most well-rounded team that truly embodies the NSAC competition from every angle.

Banos said this year’s team blew him away with overall professionalism, talent and presence. He is most proud of the massive amounts of hours the team put into the campaign leaving nothing on the table. “They all came together as a team. Everyone went above and beyond carrying their own weight and contributing in any way they could,” Banos said.

Congratulations to Team 909 on all of your hard work and dedication!

Team 909 members:

  • Karli Archuleta
  • Raavi Baldota
  • Allison Bandusky
  • Jamie Clapp
  • Kylie Cobb
  • Stanton Cross
  • Lisa Darquea
  • Jake Farina
  • Violet Herzfeld
  • Scout Johnson
  • Hannah Kintzinger
  • Megan Lammert
  • Julia Machuga
  • Katie Matson
  • Vicky Nguyen
  • Sarah Orman
  • Thao Pham
  • Yasamin Sharif
  • Sophia Striedinger
  • Jon Villalobos