Students advance to semifinals in media competition

Seniors Nicole Sonnier and Cheryl Garth are teammates representing Lamar University in The Washington Media Scholars Foundation’s 2021 Media Case Plan Competition.

The Media Case Plan Competition challenges students in teams of two to create a strategic media plan Media Imagebased on a hypothetical public policy issue. Six semifinalists will be chosen to compete in Washington D.C. and participate in Media Scholars Week, an all-expenses-paid trip where students will be able to engage with various nationally recognized media industry leaders and organizations.

Sonnier and Garth are among 17 other participating teams also representing universities, such as the University of Notre Dame, Columbia University and Penn State University. What started as an assignment in Dr. Qingjang Yao’s COMM 3371 Advanced Advertising class in December now has the potential to be a momentous opportunity for the duo, who have been assigned to a seven-month branding campaign for a hypothetical new tidal power facility.

“The work has been challenging,” said Sonnier, who returned to complete her degree in honor of her two children and her late husband of 20 years. She will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in communication and hopes to become a communications coordinator or public affairs advisor for an oil and gas company. “I did not expect to be chosen as a semifinalist, this has been such an honor.”

The deadline for the final proposal is March 26. Six finalists will be selected by April 2, and those finalists will participate in Media Scholars week in June. At that time, teams will present their media plans to a panel of judges, and the final winners will be announced on June 10.

“I did not know much about the competition when I submitted the qualifying round case. I’m surprised and excited that I was chosen a semifinalist,” said Garth. The Southeast Texas native will also graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in corporate communication and hopes to graduate next May with an MBA. “I think it’s a great opportunity for students to apply what they have learned, strengthen their knowledge and challenge themselves.”

Yao, who has had the Media Plan Case Competition embedded into his advanced advertising class for years, describes it as an exercise to practice media planning skills and an assessment of students’ understanding of media choice and planning, as well as the capability to evaluate the effectiveness of media channels to reach target audiences.

“Nicole and Cheryl are both very much committed students who work patiently,” said Yao. “They represent two out of about thirty groups selected into the semifinal round nationally. I am glad for their achievement, have confidence in their team, which they have called ‘Lamar Cardinals,’ and wish them the best.”