PUC experiential learning class returns to national advertising competition

Purdue University Calumet management and communication students have qualified for the National Student Advertising Competition in San Diego, June 1-4.

The students, enrolled in the Advertising Campaigns experiential learning class, include: Jennifer Muha (Gary), Lori Korda (Schererville), Samantha Bartucci (Steger, Ill.), Xiomara Vega (Merrillville), Dale Fieldhouse (Munster), Stephanie Gianopolus (Dyer), Louie Meneghin (Dyer), Don Pesavento (Schererville), Michelle Moore (Valparaiso), Sara Pingleton (Dyer), Barbara Possas (Hammond), Marceau Willis (Highland), Nick Moredich (Dyer), Letticia Almaguer (Dyer) and Samat Mavziutov (Chicago).

This marks the second consecutive year that students in the class, taught by Instructor Matt Hanson, have earned a berth in the national competition. To qualify, the current students placed second in district competition this spring at Southfield, Mich. and won the national wild card competition. The Purdue Calumet contingent will compete for the national title against 18 other college and university teams.

This year’s competition called for participants to develop a $100 million integrated marketing campaign for retailer JC Penney Company and its more than 1,100 department stores.

The Purdue Calumet students embarked on the nine-month project in which they analyzed industry and customer trends, included cutting edge digital shopping technologies and studied extensive media analysis targeted at 25-34-year-old females.

The students’ efforts prompted development of the customer campaign, “Discover More Every Day.”

For the competition, the students developed a 32-page plans book and presented a 20-minute presentation. Hanson, who has taught the course for four years, said preparing for the competition is the focus of the course.

“You can’t get any more of a real-world experience than this competition,” he said. “I take great pride in my students, and I want to see them succeed. When the course began, I made that clear by saying, ‘Here’s your challenge: last year, we took 12th in nationals; let’s do better.’”

Despite a whirlwind of emotions, from excitement and fear, to hatred and love, the results of this class far outweigh the challenges, Bartucci said.

“Out of all the classes at PUC, this is the one that takes you above and beyond to the level of marketing professional,” she said.

Muha, a senior in marketing, said the greatest reward from the class is the recognition received from faculty, staff and alumni at Purdue Calumet. She credited their success to Hanson.

“Our win is because of his direction and guidance,” she said.

Lori Feldman, professor and head of the Department of Marketing, Human Resources and Management, agreed. “I am extraordinarily proud of these students and their professor,” she said. “To go to nationals once is a great accomplishment, but to go twice in two years is a testament to the collaboration between two strong departments, to the university’s emphasis on experiential learning and to the strong program that Professor Hanson has built.”

(Written by Office of University Relations student intern Lane Lareau)