PUC management / communication students qualify for national advertising competition

A first place finish in district competition has earned a team of Purdue University Calumet management and communication students a berth in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition in June.

Seventeen students enrolled in the senior level “Advertising Campaigns” experiential learning course qualified for the national competition June 10-11 in Orlando, Fla. by placing first in their 12-team track of district competition this spring at Southfield, Mich. The competition called for participants to develop an integrated marketing campaign for State Farm Insurance intended to enhance attitudes about the company among its 18-to-25-year-old market.

Advertising students“They were given a case study and challenged to build a $40 million advertising campaign,” Course Instructor Matt Hanson said. “We went head to head with some of the top academic advertising programs in the country.”

District competitors included Big Ten stalwarts Michigan, Michigan State and the University of Illinois, as well as defending district pacesetters Columbia (Ill.) College and Northwood (Mich.) University.

The Purdue Calumet student team includes presenters Sara Keilman of Hammond; Stephanie Cavanaugh of Portage; Neil Wahlberg and Melissa Ferrara of Crown Point; and Dominic Cordilla of Griffith. Other team members are: Tracy Johnson of Schererville; Holly Muha, Andrea Valle and Dwayne Washington of Hammond; James Westerfield of Lowell; Bryan Redeagle of Cedar Lake; Joel Perez of Portage; Xavier Jackson and Nikki Kimbrough of Gary; Kristina Metrich of Whiting; Antonio Porter of Merrillville; and Jake Saczawa of Highland.

“The combination of both management and communication students provides a unique balance of talent that compliments each other nicely,” said Hanson, an adjunct professor who also manages a marketing/consulting company.

As one of 150 teams that began the competition, Purdue Calumet will be among 18 vying at the national competition. There, the finalists will present their campaign to State Farm corporate executives, advertising and other officials.

Hanson said his students embraced a strategy that attempted to stay true to the State Farm brand, while reshaping pre-existing State Farm ideas and concepts in ways that would endear their targeted audience. Under Hanson’s direction, the students began preparing for the competition last fall. Their preparation included developing a 32-page book of industry, competitor and corporate analysis; generating five months of research findings; creative strategies and media buys; and producing a professional presentation.

Additionally, Professor and Head of Purdue Calumet’s Department of Marketing, Human Resources and Management Lori Feldman; Associate Professor of Communication Mary Beth O’Connor; Continuing Lecturer in Marketing Kasia Firlej; and late Professor of Marketing Hugh Daubek, who died suddenly earlier this year, are serving as faculty consultants.