The Schieffer College team competes this weekend in the American Advertising Federation’s 2021 National Student Advertising Competition semifinals. It’s the first time in 10 years our team has won its district. Additionally, the team won best media plan for their bold campaign. NSAC is a college advertising competition that provides college students the real-world experience of creating a strategic advertising, marketing and media campaign for a corporate client. Students develop a marketing plan and pitch their work to advertising professionals at the district, semi-final and national levels. This year’s client is the dating app, Tinder.
The TCU team is made up of 13 students majoring in strategic communication. The students began collaborating last semester virtually during Thanksgiving break, and later, met in person, observing physical distancing protocols. Two of the team members, one in Oregon and one in Vietnam, are participating in virtual learning this semester so therefore, they have only be able to engage virtually from their respective timezones. The team has spent many hours crafting their campaign, even spending three Saturdays working all day together inside Moudy South. Emma Huels, one of the NSAC team leaders, said, “Despite the pandemic, I’m grateful that we were able to have most of our class in person this semester. It made it a lot easier to brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other sitting face-to-face!”
Because the team is still competing, details about their campaign’s creative work cannot be mentioned here or they would be a risk for disqualification.
Madison McQuary, co-leader of the team, says she is still in shock that her team placed first in AAF District 10. “We even considered not submitting our plan’s book at one point because we did not think it was good enough to compete! In a contest this prestigious, it is easy to get intimidated. It is such an honor to be able to represent TCU at this premier college advertising competition. I cannot believe that our team gets to represent TCU at this level and cannot wait for more industry professionals and top executives to see our campaign, and the quality of work that can come out of TCU.”
Both students say they are grateful for the opportunity to participate on the NSAC team and put into practice all they have learned in their strategic communication courses.
“NSAC has been my most challenging but rewarding experience while at TCU. Overall, the experience has been extremely rewarding and has been an outstanding opportunity to put our entire Strat Comm education to the test!” said Huels.
McQuary said, “The skills I have gained in this class are irreplaceable, and it is the perfect way to cap off my strategic communication experience. The fact that we get to pitch our creative ideas to a huge company is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have learned that even the craziest ideas that might come to you in the shower, or when you are brain-dead tired, could turn out to be the best ones. Overall, my media planning, budgeting, and strategic ideation skills have been sharpened the most during this class.”
The TCU team is one of 17 teams competing in the semi-finals competition. From there, the top eight teams advance to the finals competition where they will compete for the national title.