Sometimes college students are unsure they’re in the right major. There are times when I’ve doubted my own aspiration to report on the video game industry – but it’s the hands-on experience with The Temple News, internships and writing projects that remind me of my original passion.
After hearing about a call out on Facebook asking for involvement in a focus group about video games and food ordering, I found out that a team of Temple advertising students are testing their skills in this year’s National Student Advertising Competition held by the American Advertising Federation.
Each year the competition is sponsored by a company, and teams from universities around the country work to develop an entire advertising campaign for the company based off a case study provided in advance.
Temple’s team will meet with other schools in New York in April to present and be judged by professionals in the industry. The winning team from each district then moves on to the nationals during the AAF’s National Conference in June.
Temple has been involved every year since 2004 and during the early 1990s when past clients included Mary Kay, Nissan USA and State Farm.
This year, Pizza Hut is tasking students to reach out to the younger audience and get more consumers ordering pizza through digital means rather than through the phone. Among young mothers and football fans, gamers are part of the target audience considering how they can order from Pizza Hut through an application on the Xbox 360 gaming system.
Daniel Yesilonis, a junior advertising major, does not consider himself a gamer, so he reached out to some of Temple’s gaming audience for some in-depth interviews. He got to learn about their attitudes toward technology, thoughts on gamer culture and the negative stereotypes they often get associated with.
“Everyone has different interests and it’s really important to see what people think about things because if you want to advertise to people, you need to know what’s important to them,” Yesilonis said.
Following in last year’s steps, the NSAC team is divided up into fall and spring classes, with this semester’s focus on the market research and brand strategy taught by advertising professor Jennifer Freeman.
This approach allows the team to spend more time coming up with solid research on things like target audience subsets, Pizza Hut’s competitors and the amount of advertising dollars put into competitors’ campaigns.
“We do think that the more you know in the beginning, the better ideas you’re going to have,” Freeman said.
This will all go into the creative brief that gives the spring class the information they need to create a campaign, which will be taught by advertising professor and faculty advisor for NSAC, Sheryl Kantrowitz.
Kantrowitz detailed how students need to take part in the entire process of campaign creation including the research, media strategy, conceptualization of creative pieces and resource management which is all “very close to a real world situation.”
“When we’re forming a team, we’re looking for students who are real go-getters, that we feel can handle the tight timeline,” Kantrowitz said.
Alyssa Grant, a junior advertising major, knew that she wanted to be a part of the NSAC team since she was a freshman, but wanted to gain experience first. Her time with the research has made her even more enthusiastic to be able to work with the team this upcoming spring, she said.
“NSAC has shown me what I’m capable of,” Grant said. “The fact that [research] is our responsibility is really awesome to look back on and say, ‘I did that.’”
Temple has yet to reach the national finals of the competition and as much as they want to win, Freeman and Kantrowitz said that NSAC is a valuable tool for students’ futures.
“It’s about the process of finding out how every day professionals do this kind of thing and what kind of work goes into the campaigns we see on TV,” Freeman said.
“We hope to leave at the end of this semester with a working strategy and then we’ll come back and turn it quickly into a creative, amazing big idea,” Kantrowitz said.
Albert Hong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org