Grand Valley State University’s 2018 National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC)
team travelled to South Bend, Indiana, to compete in the American Advertising Federation (AAF) District 6 contest on Friday, April 13. The team, including 22 students, placed third in the largest AAF district contest, which is known as a mega-district. This year, the client was Ocean Spray Cranberries.
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.