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May 2, 2013

NSAC tests the skills of CSU Ad Club

By Brittney Schmies

The Cleveland State University Ad Club participated in the 40th annual National Students Advertising Competition (NSAC) in the beginning of April where they placed fourth in the district competition. The competition is broken up into 15 districts with the winner of each districting going on to compete in the national level at the AAF National conference.

This isn’t the first placement for the Ad Club and they are not pleased with the ranking this year. In the past the Ad Club has performed admirably both at the district and national levels.

“In the past five years we have won four good enough awards I think,” Dr. Yung-I Liu, assistant professor in the School of Communication and co-advisor for the Ad Club, said. “We always want to get a championship so we can compete in a national competition, but I know it’s not easy.”

The placement was a bitter-sweet moment for the Ad Club.  The club performed well and seemed to hit the mark exactly as it should have been, even receiving mention from the judges, leaving them a little shocked with their ranking.

“Although placing fourth was disappointing for our group, I am extremely proud of everyone for volunteering their time to help make our campaign the best it can be,” Brad Bielak, president of the Ad Club, said. “We received several complimentary shout-outs from the judges on our copy-writing and strategy, which is something that doesn’t usually happen.”

The Ad Club gives students a chance to take what they’re learning in their coursework and apply it.  Curriculum along with collaborations with strategic marketing agencies is getting students interested in doing well in their classes and participating in extracurricular activities that allow them to enhance what they have learned.

“You are working on a project for a real client and will get real world experience in how an advertising campaign is conducted,” Bielak said.  “The competition is also a great learning experience, as you have to pitch your campaign to the top executives in the nation.”

This year Glidden paint was the case study given to participants of the NSAC.  The goal of the case study was to bring awareness to Walmart customers that Glidden paint is available in stores and to help spur purchase of the paint in Walmart.

“We focused on an in-store strategy because we’re trying to get Walmart customers,” Scott Ferguson, Ad Club member and advertising major, said. “If they’re Walmart customers, they’re in the store already and we tried to link that with a very large social media campaign.”

Ad Club, along with the advertising curriculum, tries to bring in other aspects of strategic marketing communication besides an advertisement or commercial.

“Before we only had three or four national TV networks, but now we have so much media fragmentation that the audiences fragments, so you need to reach people,” Liu said. “You need to place the message in different forms in order to reach the right people.”

The Ad Club tried to do this in a multitude of ways for their campaign.  They employed in-store techniques to draw customers to the idea of buying paint at Walmart, they campaigned with social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram and they used engagement techniques that put the product in the customers’ hands.

“We felt really good [about the campaign] because it seemed a lot of other schools missed the mark on selling Glidden in side of Walmart,” Ferguson said.

Each year the club receives a case study and spends the school year formulating a campaign that challenges members to think creatively and apply what they’ve learned in class to create something for an actual company.

“I think the Ad Club is the best experience because it is advertising,” Ferguson said. “You’re no longer talking about theory; you’re taking it and turning it into practice.”

If you are interested in more information about the Ad Club or would like to join contact them via email at csuadclub@gmail.com.