Advertising capstone Blue, Inc. heads to Kansas City for final project
Photo: Lizzie Pine
Advertising students will compete in the National Student Advertising Competition on tomorrow in Kansas City with the hopes of bringing home the District 9 championship. The top school from this district and each of the other 14 districts across the nation will move on to the national NASC competition in San Diego. There, the schools will have a chance to compete against over 200 colleges for the national title.
Advertising creative track and account management majors, along with advertising minors in the Drake University advertising capstone class, participate in this competition every year. In this class, students are “hired” by a fictitious advertising agency called Blue, Inc. and are given the opportunity to provide advertising for a national company as part of the competition.
The advertising seniors have participated in this event for seven years, but they have never moved on from districts. Blue, Inc. has earned second and third place finishes in years prior, but only the top team moves on to the national competition. This year, Blue, Inc. hopes to be the first Drake team to compete at the national level.
Kara Rhodes, a creative advertising major and member of Blue, Inc., believes they can be the first Drake team to make it nationals.
“I am extremely confident entering this competition. We have studied campaigns from previous years and learned what works and what doesn’t,” Rhodes said. “This year, we not only have an innovative campaign, but we also have knowledge on how to win. This, combined with a talented and passionate group of students, will put us on top.”
J.C. Penney is the company for the competition this year. J.C. Penney is looking to get more women aged 25-34 into its stores and to get those women spending more money in stores and online. The students are to create a media plan, a multimedia campaign and an overall strategy to entice the target audience effectively.
The students began the process by creating a 32-page plans book of their recommendation for J.C. Penney, which they sent off a few weeks ago to the judges. This plans book contained the print advertisements and other important print pieces used in the execution of the J.C. Penney media plan.
Next, the students created a 20-minute sales pitch, which they will give this Friday, to accompany the plans book. This pitch explains their advertising executions to the same judges who received the four-color plans book a few weeks prior. The pitch contains not only the ideas for the promotions but also the actual multimedia advertisements, blown-up versions of the print ads and videos created by the students. For example, the students developed a choose-your-destination advertisement that they uploaded to YouTube, which will be in the flash presentation with the pitch.
Upon completion of the competition, the students will receive feedback on their advertising executions from the judges, who are real advertising professionals. The judges this year consist of three corporate executives from J.C. Penney and two members of J.C. Penney’s advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi. This gives the students the opportunity to receive real-world advice from others outside of the advertising department at Drake, being that they had to create the entire project without any outside help.
In addition to generating the project on their own, the students had to fund the project. They were able to produce their own print ads and commercials in Meredith Hall. For other costs, they had to resort to their own funding. This is why the class held a silent auction in early February and an ugly sweater sale in December. Overall, they raised about $4,700 through their fundraising efforts.
Even if they do not make it to the national competition this year, the Blue, Inc. team members feel this project is not a waste.
“The capstone has been a great learning experience,” said Erika Sevigny, Blue, Inc. marketing director. “It provided a chance for us to work with a national, well-known brand and come up with unique and innovative solutions to their business challenges.”