Nearly 150 university teams across the US compete in the NSAC. University teams are tasked with creating a comprehensive advertising/integrated marketing plan for a national client. The recommendations are documented in a 20-page plans book and delivered to industry judges in a 20-minute oral presentation. District competitions take place in 15 AAF districts across the nation, including a virtual competition.
“This class is truly an immersive experience because it allows students to have a hands-on learning approach, while still under the direction of an advisor to offer guidance,” said student team member Bethany Garcia. “Having real clients turns the pressure on and brings a level of professionalism to each and every class.”
AAF’s District 6 (D6) has the highest concentration of Advertising/Public Relations academic programs located in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. Twenty universities competed in the AAF D6 NSAC contest this year, including Michigan State, Purdue, Columbia, Ball State, University of Illinois, Indiana University and others. Two teams from D6 will move on to the semi-finals in this three-tier competition. Of the 18 teams that compete in the semi-final round, eight teams will move on to the national competition in conjunction with the AAF ADmerica national conference, this year, held in Chicago.
Grand Valley has been competing in the NSAC contest since 2008 and has placed every consecutive year since 2009; three of those were first place.
“The competition is fierce as the NSAC is seen as a valuable credential for graduates moving into the advertising profession,” said Robin Spring, assistant professor and advisor of the NSAC team. “The NSAC contest is the oldest and largest student advertising competition in the US and recruiters from prominent advertising agencies often scout at NSAC events.”
This year, GVSU’s NSAC tagline line for Ocean Spray was #EmbraceTheBitterSweet. The GVSU team recommended an array of interactive and experiential tactics designed to resonate with younger target market and inspire them to engage with Ocean Spray, a brand that has a largely older consumer base.
A new scholarship named in honor of a former Advertising and Public Relations professor has its first recipient.
Vanessa Lansdale will receive the first $1200 scholarship from the Frederick A. Chapman Memorial Public Relations Scholarship Fund.
The scholarship fund was set up with a large initial gift from the family of Fred Chapman in his memory. Chapman, who taught in the Advertising and Public Relations program at GVSU from 1991-2001, passed away in 2013. The scholarship reached full funding last year after a fundraising drive involving current faculty and alumni. The scholarship is for students going into a career in public relations and dedicated to community service.
Before his ten years of teaching at GVSU, Chapman was involved in numerous activities
that combined his love of public relations and service. . He spent 36 years in corporate advertising and public relations. He was heavily involved in community service, in which he served numerous positions for various organizations, including local government.
Lansdale represents the qualities the scholarship is designed to support. She is an excellent student, and is very involved outside of the classroom. She is Director of Alumni Relations for PRSSA, a member of the GVSU American Marketing Association, and on the Laker Traditions Team. An APR major with minors in photography and nonprofit administration, she also volunteered her services to take photos for the APR program blog and annual report.
Of campus, Lansdale has been active in community service as well. She is a Springhill Teen Service Volunteer, a vacation Bible school teacher, and a volunteer at Woman at Risk, International.
“Through my major, minors, extracurricular activities, and community service, I have found my passion for nonprofits, public relations, digital marketing, and photography,” Lansdale said of her career goals. “I plan to use these skills to start my own company and provide assistance to nonprofits in the West Michigan community, thus allowing more awareness to be brought to their causes. Using my skills, I plan to give a voice to those who do not have one.”
The GVSU Advertising and Public Relations program recently become more involved with the prestigious Arthur W. Page Society when a professor became a member and a group of students placed in the organization’s annual case study competition. Both happened April 5 in New York City at the Page Society Spring Seminar.
Timothy Penning, PhD, APR, a professor of advertising and public relations in the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University, has been named a member of the Arthur W. Page Society (www.awpagesociety.com).
The Arthur W. Page Society is a professional association for senior public relations and corporate communications executives who seek to enrich and strengthen their profession. Members are nominated by current members and must be approved by the board. Penning is one of a group of university faculty who are part of the elite organization.
“It’s a real privilege for me to be a part of this group of communications professionals,” Penning said. “Members are the top communications professionals in the largest organizations in the world, who directly counsel the CEOs. I teach that PR is a management function, and these select group of professionals practice it. I hope to learn much from interacting with them.”
Penning added that his association with the Page Society will also benefit students in the GVSU Advertising and Public Relations program as he brings current practice and insights from professionals into the classroom. It may also lead to high-profile guest speakers and networking.
Penning is a former journalist and public relations professional who started teaching full time at GVSU in 2001. In addition to his teaching and research, he is the coordinator of the Advertising and Public Relations program.
Meanwhile, a group of GVSU Ad and PR students placed third in the Case Study Competition in Corporate Communications.
The Case Study Competition in Corporate Communications, which is sponsored by the
Arthur W. Page Society and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), awards students whose original case studies best examine the practice of corporate communications in a business issue or crisis. This year’s competition drew 105 entries from 36 communications and business schools across the country.
Students on the Grand Valley team included Aaron Robert, Brianna Olson, Brooklyn Wilson, and Erin Stehlik. Adrienne Wallace was the faculty advisor. Their case was about Target’s transgender bathroom policy. Teams from DePaul University claimed first and second place.
“This case study competition truly challenges students to take a 360-degree view of how communicating around a program or issue can have a significant impact on the overall business of an organization,” said Dr. Tina McCorkindale, President and CEO of IPR. “Winning this highly-competitive award is a great honor.”
The annual competition is judged by a panel comprising Page Society members and members of Page Up, a membership organization for senior-level communicators who have the potential to rise to a CCO or another executive role.
“I am very proud of my team for working this hard outside the classroom,” said Aaron Robert. “To compete and place alongside graduate students nationwide is a testament to our worth ethic and knowledge of public relations. We are honored to represent the GVSU APR program on a national level.”