Advertising class wins first gold award for ‘Not a Date’ campaign


Webster advertising students create an award winning campaign despite challenges due to the pandemic.

Webster University’s ADVT 4910 Campaigns class received two top awards in the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Student Competition. One of the awards is a first for Webster University advertising students.

The class, led by instructors Julie Clark and Michael Whitmer, overcame pandemic and technological challenges to craft their award winning “Not a Date” advertising campaign over the course of a year.

ADVT 4910 is a Capstone course that culminates everything advertising students have worked toward over the course of their degree program. Campaigns students work on a case study provided by the AAF collectively. In 2021, the students focused on the Tinder dating app.

Graphic by Alexandria Darmody.

One of the students, Drew Fisher, said the class created TV spots, Spotify ads, websites and billboard mockups to present to the competition’s judges.

According to Whitmer, the students faced interpersonal challenges while working on their “Not a Date” campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fisher recalled difficulties such as people missing classes when the class is “really hands-on.” To overcome the restrictive obstacles, the class used Zoom, Facetime, shared burdens and dedicated 60 hours a week to the project.

“They had to work with a lot of creative personalities to solve a problem,” Whitmer said. “They really overcame that by rounds and rounds and rounds of revisions on what they thought was right to get to the place where they knew the best answer for the client, and even doing additional research to ensure the application of their idea would resonate with the target audience.”

The “Not a Date” campaign won the Gold Award at the St. Louis chapter of the AAF competition. The award is a first for Webster University’s advertising students.
“I’m really just proud that we even got the project done,” Fisher said., “It’s so nice to have our hard work recognized.”

The students’ submissions will continue competing in the AAF District Student Awards against students from Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. If their success continues, the submission will compete at the national level against students from around the country.

“It’s quite a privilege that we have been honored here and that the students have won this the first time for Webster University,” Whitmer said. “We’re proud of [the students].”

Clark and Whitmer are currently teaching a new section of Campaigns for spring 2022, focusing on a case study for the Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headset. Webster’s new team of marketing students will present their campaign at the AAF’s district competition in Kansas City, MO, on April 22.

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Caleb Sprous
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