NSAC Team Makes National Finals for 2nd Time in Recent UK History


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 2, 2021) — For the second time in recent University of Kentucky history students in the College of Communication and Information’s Department of Integrated Strategic Communication’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team have made it to the national finals.

This year’s team ended their incredible season with a fifth-place finish in the nation with their presentation and plans book for 2021 NSAC client Tinder, the world’s most popular dating app.

The NSAC provides college students from across the nation the opportunity to create a comprehensive strategic marketing/advertising/media campaign for a corporate client, offering real-world experience that students can earn while still in the classroom.

Each client provides an assignment or case study outlining the history of its product and a current challenge. The case study reflects a real-world marketing challenge the student teams must research and then develop and test solutions. Student teams create a presentation and plans book and then “pitch” their solutions to a panel of judges, from the district to the national level.

This year’s team, led by ISC Associate Professor Adriane Grumbein, won the District Five competition in April. District Five encompasses American Advertising Federation college chapters in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. 2021 was the 10th time a UK team won the Fifth District competition.

Following the District Five win, the team moved on to the semifinal round in May where they competed against 17 other district winners around the nation.

The top eight teams from semifinal competition were invited to the national finals, held virtually on June 3.

This year marks the UK team’s best finish ever. The team also won the AdMall by SalesFuel Best Research Award, given to the national finalist team deemed to have demonstrated the best marketing research in their presentation and plans book.

“Proud does not feel like a big enough word for how I feel about this team and their accomplishments,” Grumbein said.

“This remarkable group of students exceeded every goal I set for them. They rose to every challenge. They worked late nights and early mornings. They did in-depth research that wowed the judges. They did beautiful creative that brought their insights to life. And, they did it all with passion, camaraderie and joy. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with this team. In a year unlike any other, this team’s resilience, creativity and talent reminds me that our profession has nothing to fear. Their future is fire."

May 2021 graduate and two-year NSAC team member Kendall Boron recapped the team’s unprecedented year saying, “The team supported one another and played up to everyone’s strengths. It was the most rewarding experience — not just taking fifth in the nation but also the friendships that followed. There is some crazy talent on this team, and we were happy to set the bar high for next year.”  

The 2020-2021 NSAC team members were ISC students Alyiah Austin, Kendall Boron, Nia Brown, Addison Cave, Grayson Dampier, Katelyn Dougherty, Emily Fay, Peyton Fike, Annie Gillenwater, Haley Heisler, Jeremy Middleton, Zachary Neighbors, Michael Noble, Chaney Willett and Olivia Zidzik.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.