South Dakota State University’s National Student Advertising Competition team finished second in a 2022 regional competition.
NSAC, a national competition, gives more than 2,000 college students experience in creating an advertising, marketing or media campaign for a corporate client.
This year, the students took on client Meta Platforms Inc., creating a campaign to change the perceptions and increase sales of the company’s Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset among Generation Z consumers.
SDSU students participate in the competition as part of their advertising capstone, with campaign research conducted in ADV 472, a fall course led by professor Roxanne Lucchesi and campaign development in ADV 442, a spring course led by instructor and team adviser Heather Solberg.
In the spring, the class works as a mock advertising agency, with students dividing into media, static creative and video creative teams.
After creating their campaign, students pitch to a panel of judges that include professionals in the advertising industry. This year’s panel included a creative director from Meta Platforms Inc.
Working as an agency and pitching to a client “shows future employers that you do have experience working in an agency-type situation, and I think that’s certainly the most valuable skill,” said senior advertising major Elijah Hirst, who worked on the creative video team and is from Austin, Minnesota.
While the students are advised by faculty members, students take the lead, said Solberg. “I like to tell my students I’m there to help steer the boat, not to fully drive the boat, because it is a student-led competition.”
Students walk away with more than experience working in an agency-like setting, with skills such as time management, communication and teamwork being reinforced, according to senior advertising major Carrie Abeling, who worked as head of the creative team.
“If anybody has the opportunity to take this course as a student at SDSU, I highly recommend it. It really challenges you, and it’s an awesome experience,” said Abeling, who is from West Des Moines, Iowa.
NSAC is put on by the American Advertising Federation, a national advertising trade association.