The University of Nevada, Reno Integrated Marketing Communications competition team placed second to a team from the University of California, Berkeley in the regional portion of the National Student Advertising Competition, April 5 in Berkeley.
Students from universities and colleges around the country were challenged with creating an integrated communications campaign to increases brand awareness and positive perception of the Mary Kay cosmetic brand with woman ages 18 to 25 years old. Each team submitted an electronic plan book and gave a 20-minute presentation to five professional judges. The Nevada team, made up of students from the Reynolds School of Journalism and the College of Business, competed against Berkeley, California State University, Fresno and San Jose State University.
"The work from our team was superior," said, Bob Felten, assistant professor of Strategic Communications in the Reynolds School. "The extraordinarily commitment by the students and their exceptional skill was demonstrated in the high level of everything they did.
Felten has mentored the competition team the past 15 years. The University's teams have won seven regional titles, placed among the top-10 in the national competition three times and were the national champions in 2003.
The team crafted their campaign based on their research findings that the target audience was attracted to natural beauty and moments they could relate to rather than woman who looked fake and Photoshopped. The team and Felten understood the risk they were taking by pitching their "real moments" campaign instead of a campaign focused on product placement.
"I'm so impressed with the innovative approach of the team's campaign," said Al Stavitsky, dean of the Reynolds School. "This reflects the sustained excellence of our IMC program, which consistently ranks among the nation's best."
"We decided to do something different and challenge the traditional way of marketing cosmetics," Heyden Enochson, a senior strategic communications student and one of the presenters, said. "We knew we were taking a risk but we were willing to break the mold and not stay safe."
Although the team will not advance in the competition, they will present their campaign to advertising, public relations and marketing professions from the local chapters of the American Advertising Federation, Public Relations Society of America and the American Marketing Association May 13 at the Peppermill. The competition is a program of the American Advertising Federation.