UK ISC Team Headed to National Student Advertising Competition Finals

Photo of 2017 UK NSAC team
2017 UK NSAC team members.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 19, 2017) — A student team from the University of Kentucky Department of Integrated Strategic Communication (ISC) in the College of Communication and Information has qualified for the elite eight of the advertising world by earning one of only eight spots at the national finals of the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC).

Each year, more than 130 schools participate in the AAF’s NSAC, beginning with competition in one of 15 districts. Each team creates a comprehensive campaign for the sponsor, based on a real-world marketing challenge the sponsor presents in a case study. This year’s NSAC sponsor was Tai Pei, a leading producer of Asian-style frozen entrees.

Each student team creates a 27-page plans book and a 20-minute presentation to present to a panel of industry judges at the district competition to showcase their campaign.

UK is in AAF District 5, which includes schools in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. The district competition was held in Lexington on April 7-8, where the UK team placed second and qualified for the national semifinals. The UK team is one of the eight national finalists that will now compete at ADMERICA, AAF's national conference June 8–10, in New Orleans.

Each of the 19 teams invited to semifinals presented a five-minute pitch followed by a 10-minute question and answer session with judges from Tai Pei’s corporate marketing team. The national semifinal competition was conducted by a 15-minute video conference May 4.

Finalists were announced the afternoon of May 5, less than two hours after 12 of the 13 team members walked across the stage in Rupp Arena to receive their bachelor’s degrees. Adriane Grumbein, assistant ISC professor and co-advisor of the NSAC team, said family and friends who were in town to attend graduation ceremony joined the team’s celebration as they heard the judge’s live announcement via conference call.

“I am beyond proud of this talented team of students,” Grumbein said. “They poured their heart and soul into their work this semester — from primary research and strategy all the way to data analytics and creative executions. And, the result was an innovative, truly integrated campaign.”

Alyssa Eckman, associate ISC professor and team co-advisor, said UK has competed in NSAC for more than 20 years. The team placed 13th at the national competition in 2013, and UK’s highest national finish at NSAC was in 2006 when its ISC team earned sixth place overall.

“Just earning a spot in the NSAC finals is an impressive accomplishment,” Eckman said. “We are excited for our ISC students to represent UK in the Elite Eight at this prestigious academic competition.”

The 2017 UK NSAC team members are:

  • Carli Ackerstein,
  • Laura Brower,
  • Madison Elder,
  • Megan Galage,
  • Alé Gibson,
  • Bailey Klutts,
  • Sarah Kosid,
  • Lauren Kowalski,
  • Danielle Mallory,
  • Alexi Mojsejenko,
  • Garrett Ringler,
  • Susan Schuldt, and
  • Joanna Sowa.


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