“Being creative and measuring up,” that’s how Kelly Darcy, director of communication for Yardsticks, described the purpose of the Yardsticks competition. On October 28, 2015 at 5:15pm students entered the Ballroom at City Flats Hotel in Grand Rapids to prepare their presentation that would soon be displayed in front of judges, professionals and other students. There were a total of eight entries, from Grand Valley State University and Central Michigan University.
The Yardsticks competition can be entered as a team or as an individual. In the competition students present a strategy related to a creative brief given to them by a real world company. This year the company was Macatawa Bank. The creative brief for this contest was set up to help the bank target a millennial generation audience. The students had to create a strategy that would build a relationship between the millennial audience and the bank through mobile banking.
A good amount of students came out to the 2015 Yardsticks event. Creative, design and APR students were all present from GVSU. Also in attendance were GVSU professors Spring, and Stipe. Students from the Central Michigan Ad Club represented the Mt. Pleasant area.
This was the tenth anniversary of the Yardsticks event, put on by professor Frank Blossom. You might know Frank from a class or possibly have heard about the past work he has done with students, but for those who don’t know, he is an advertising professor and the creator of Yardsticks. At the event Frank Blossom said, “Great turn out, and the quality of thinking is good.”
At Yardsticks students get critiques and feedback on their presentations from professionals who work in the APR field. Students have the opportunity to use the feedback whether they win or loose. They then can make revisions and enter their strategy in the 2016 American Advertising Awards (ADDYs). The ADDYs is an American Advertising Federation (AAF) competition (see http://aafwmi.org/addy-awards/ for more information).
The winners of Yardsticks this year took home a cash prize along with the “Extra Yardstick” trophy. Aubrey Leko, a student who entered with a team said, “This being my first year at yardsticks, it is a lot of fun, great opportunities, good feedback, and the chance to network.” Advice she give to students for next year is, “Enter no matter what, it’s about the idea not the presentation, so have fun with it.”
The winner of the 2015 Yardsticks was a tie! The CMU team and the DIVVY team both took home the cash prize and an “Extra Yardstick” trophy. Ben Kaluski, one of the members of the winning GVSU team, said,”We are ecstatic about our win at yardsticks. We feel that our dedication to GVSU`s curriculum and our APR student organizations proves that indulging in every opportunity helps achieve greater things.”
Also on the GVSU team were Jessica Krysinska and Mari Behovitz. All of the team members are currently serving on the GVSU Ad Club e-board.
“We absolutely plan to participate in the ADDY’s and other competitions.,” said Krysinska. “The judge’s critiques will allow us to expand on our original campaign. In addition, we will take this experience to individually grow and submit our own work.”
The runner-up for the competition was the “Bank Zombies” campaign by Joseph Parks. All the entries did a great job and the judges were very impressed with the content and ideas. Be on the lookout to seeing who will “measure-up” in the 2016 ADDY awards!
If you are interested in entering the ADDYs sign up at http://aafwmi.org/addy-awards/. Get your submissions and paper work in before January 14!
Post by: Sophie Klimkiewicz