Members of the University of Nevada, Reno Integrated Marketing Communications competition team presented their campaign proposal in the American Advertising Federation's National Student Advertising Competition in Phoenix, Ariz., June 7. The University's team, with students from the Reynolds School of Journalism and Center for Advanced Media Studies and the College of Business, finished in 17th place among the 18 competing teams. They qualified for the national competition by winning their regional competition this spring.
"I am extremely proud of the IMC Team," Reynolds School Dean Al Stavitsky said. "The innovative marketing approach taken, along with an integrated plan and multimedia campaign the team developed demonstrates the diverse range of skills learned. Reynolds School students are prepared for success and leadership roles as a direct result of participating in this competition."
This year, Glidden Paint was the corporate client and provided schools across the country with a unique challenge, to increase sales in Walmart stores. Students had to research the product, its competition and target audiences, identify potential problems and develop an integrated marketing communications campaign. Glidden had previously released desired campaign objectives, a detailed case study of its product history as well as an outline of their recent advertising history to students to prepare for the competition. Each student team had to produce a written plan and "pitch" its campaign to a panel of judges in regional competitions around the country. Initially, over 140 schools participated. Only 18 schools progressed to the final competition in Phoenix where three key marketing executives from Glidden reviewed their plans and "pitches."
"No matter what place we finished, we made it very far and it was a great experience," said Stephany Kirby, a recent graduate from The Reynolds School of Journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication. "Our team spent months researching, brainstorming, disagreeing, late nights and early mornings together, and I couldn't be more proud to share this experience with such amazing people.
Bob Felten, assistant professor of strategic communications, has mentored the competition team over the past 14 years. The University's teams have won seven regional titles, placed among the top ten in the national competition three times and were the national champions in 2003.
As the team prepared their campaign, Felten encouraged students to develop a plan based on their research findings. Felten and the team recognized their final plan was risky, but believed it best solved the problem outlined by Glidden.
"Our team presented a marketing and communications approach different from any of the other competitors," Felten said. "The client chose a completely different direction. While disappointing, that too is a lesson in how this business works."
The competition, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation, is divided into 15 districts, each with teams representing from one to five states. The University of Nevada, Reno team advanced to the national competition by winning the district competition on April 19 in San Jose, Calif.