Webster University marketing and advertising students competed in the annual National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) regionals April 15 in Kansas City, Mo, taking first place in their district.
They competed in American Advertising Federation (AAF) District 9 which includes schools from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois.
Senior marketing and advertising majors are required to take a capstone production course taught by adjunct faculty Michael Whitmer and Julie Clark, who were originally winners in 2001. A prerequisite in advertising and research is required before enrollment in the production class.
Roles are divided between all 17 students enrolled in the production class and they create their own agency with copywriters and account executives.
Senior Ricky Ortiz auditioned for the role of production artist, which means he handled all video, photos, print ads and visuals.
“Once we were in the production class in the spring, it became really heavy on hours,” Ortiz said. “Coming up with a strategy took us about two weeks of work.”
Ortiz said the group would meet at 10 a.m., and some nights they would not leave until public safety kicked them out.
“A lot of people didn’t think we were going to make it, to be honest,” Ortiz said “Not that they didn’t believe in us, but they knew we had strong opponents.”
Senior Courtney Baker was assigned as art director, which means she handled the creative execution as well as delegated tasks out to production artists.
“I think it was just nerve-wracking to make sure everything was done on time,” Baker said. “That was the biggest thing.”
Ortiz said there were originally nine schools that were to compete, but three ended up dropping out because they either could not make the deadline or it was too much work for them. He said one of the schools that dropped was Saint Louis University (SLU), which made it more intense for the students.
“Our biggest competitor always is Nebraska,” Ortiz said. “They have six [titles] and now we have six [titles].”
Each presentation at the competition is 20 minutes long, followed by a Q&A with the judges.
“I thought we answered everything really, really well and we were very educated in our answers but you don’t know what they are going to ask and they don’t hold back with their questions,” Baker said.
Webster’s win was announced at a dinner banquet that evening.
“Since we did win, we have the chance to go compete nationally in California against eight other schools,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz said they cannot talk about the specifics of their campaign or they could get disqualified from nationals.
Baker said the students were all prepared to go into the competition trying nothing but their best.
“Kudos to everyone else in the class because I feel like everyone was in a really great mindset and everyone was very determined,” Baker said.