Violet Herzfeld and her Experience in NSAC

According to Violet Herzfeld, “The best way to learn about an advertising campaign is to develop one in NSAC.”

The National Student Advertising Competition, better known as NSAC, is an annual advertising competition that challenges college students around the nation to develop an integrated advertising campaign for a corporate sponsor of its choosing.

This year’s sponsor is Wienerschnitzel. While the World’s Largest Hot Dog Chain was recently ranked the No. 1 quick service restaurant on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, it has also experienced backlash from consumers interested in organic, hormone-free meat products.

Now, students at the collegiate level have devised advertising strategies and tactics that will (hopefully) change opinions about the brand and its products.

Before the creative genius began, however, Herzfeld, says students embarked on an extensive interviewing process, lengthy training sessions, and a campaign “crash course” to prepare for the road ahead.

“We started preparing for NSAC months before the competition started,” Herzfeld said. Her advisor, Antonio Banos, required students to finish a series of assigned readings, including Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan, apply for preferred team positions, and develop peer relationships with perspective NSAC members.

But Herzfeld claims “real work” began in the spring when students were officially accepted on the campaign team. The team had designated meeting times twice per week, running at an hour and a half each, but Herzfeld says she worked on the project all day, every day, including weekends.

“I have so much more respect for advertising professionals now,” Herzfeld admits. “The sensation of watching a ‘really good’ ad is no longer met with laughter or emotion, but the dull realization that it takes an army to execute a single idea.”

Herzfeld did emphasize that her work was worth it. When describing the development of the campaign, she says, “Manifesting an idea is the single most rewarding experience I have made at TCU.” Unlike many projects, the NSAC Competition requires students to create their campaign idea as well as relevant strategies and tactics completely from scratch.

“The hardest part was picking one idea,” Herzfeld said. “With a team of 20 people, competing thoughts made it difficult to reach unanimous decisions and proceed in the design process.” While tensions were often high at work, Herzfeld was happy to say, “I feel like I have 20 new friends now.” Team relationships ultimately fortified platonic relationships that have now resulted in more friendly faces on campus.

Most of all, Herzfeld says, “Because of the Schieffer College, because of this opportunity, I feel confident in my ability to work at an agency.” Before the NSAC Competition began, Herzfeld described her professional aspirations as unknown and her capabilities as a work in progress. Now, she has what it takes to be successful in “the real world.”