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Lamar Ad Fed students prepare for national competition

The Lamar Advertising Federation will head to Tulsa, Okla., April 10-12, for the 40th annual American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) National Student Advertising Competition.

Composed of 37 business, art and communication majors, this year’s Lamar AdFed team is building an advertising campaign for Glidden paint, one of the largest paint manufacturers in North America.

2013 LU Ad Fed teamThe AAF, the nation’s oldest advertising trade association, is divided into 15 districts, each containing one to five states. Texas is in the tenth district, with Oklahoma, Arkansas and Northwest Louisiana. The winning team of each district and one wild card then advance to compete on the national level at the ADMERICA! AAF National Conference held in June, in Phoenix, Arizona. The team that wins at the national level will see its campaign run from May to September 2014 throughout the United States. Tenth district teams have won three out of the last five competitions (2002, 2004, and 2005) and have earned nine national titles since the competition began in 1973—more than any other two districts combined.

“We’re excited to be tapping into some of the country’s brightest, most creative and innovative student marketers to help us address this real opportunity for the Glidden brand,” said Rob Horton, vice president of North American marketing for AkzoNobel, makers of Glidden paint.

The competition requires AAF college students to develop a 20-page marketing campaign and a 20-minute presentation in response to a real-world case study. Team members solve this realistic problem with team effort, knowledge and creativity. Their challenge is to increase customer awareness at Walmart stores and to drive purchasing behavior among the various Glidden products available at the retailer’s stores across the country.

“We look forward to having our students help Glidden build the type of brand loyalty that will stay among this core market as they transition through their lives,” said Constance Cannon Frazier, chief operating officer of AAF.

Communication professor and AdFed advisor Dawn Katz is very proud of the work the students are producing. She said that this experience is great for the students’ resumes and portfolios and gives them the chance to gain knowledge building an ad campaign from the ground up, all before graduation. “They have the possibility to network with both advertising professionals and future colleagues,” she said. “Participating in this competition gives students the opportunity to apply the theories and concepts they learn in class, and I truly believe it helps them learning in a way no textbook could possibly facilitate.”

The AAF and client sponsor are eager to see the innovative ideas the students have in store to target the market. Some past clients were Coca Cola, JCPenney, Nissan and State Farm Insurance. The AAF website states that year after year, the quality of work and level of creativity surpass the previous year, and sponsors have been known to implement the ideas generated by these impressive, high-caliber student teams.

“It is just like working at a real ad firm,” said Lauren McGee, president of Lamar AdFed. “We've had a lot of fun creating it and our team has been amazing at coming up with fun and creative concepts to help us grab the judges attention.”

Nederland native McGee is the leader of the AdFed council for this year’s competition. As a returning and active AdFed member, she was elected to be president. With the help of vice president Tamara Menges and secretary Nicole Quebedeaux, McGee is keeping the overall project organized, setting agendas, making plans and supervising. “My officers are amazing and have helped me tremendously this year,” she said. “Our advisor, Dawn Katz, is fun to work with and is very passionate about her job. She was an AdFed member when she attended Lamar so she knows what it's all about.”

Currently studying at Lamar to earn her advertising bachelor degree and also a member of Lamar’s band, McGee hopes to graduate in May and achieve her goal of working for an advertising agency in the Dallas or San Antonio and also being part of an organization such as St. Jude or Texas Children’s Hospital. “I think going to Lamar is really going to help me in the long run,” she said. “I've had a lot to put on my resume and I think that it will catch employers’ attention.”

“I participated in last year’s competition and from what I could gather, Sam Houston and Oklahoma State were some of the big competitors,” explained McGee. “However, I've learned that bigger schools with bigger budgets don't necessarily mean a successful campaign. It's all about your team. I think Lamar has a good advantage this year because of our hard-working team, creative and marketing side.”

Katz said that AdFed students as well as team leaders seem really motivated about this championship and are willing to do their best. All of them have high hopes for this year’s campaign.