Advertising students place third in regional competition

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Photo of WMU's advertising and promotion case competition team.

WMU's case competition team

KALAMAZOO—A team of nine Western Michigan University advertising and promotion students took third place in a regional competition of an important and very competitive national advertising student competition.

Students competed in the the district competition of the 2014 American Advertising Federation's National Student Advertising Competition April 3-4 in South Bend, Ind. The team was composed of advertising and promotion students Ciera Carter and Denise Starks, both of Detroit, Mich.; Jennifer Chappuis of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Peter Hogfelt of South Barrington, Ill.; John Kilmartin of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Janae Mason of Dearborn Heights, Mich.; Laura Scott of Jackson, Mich.; Hayley Sunde of Royal Oak, Mich; and Tyler VanderWall of Grand Haven, Mich.

"This case was particularly challenging," says Dr. JoAnn Atkin, associate professor of marketing and advisor to the team. "Yet the students really stepped up and presented a convincing solution. It was a terrific learning experience for all. I'm very proud of what this team has accomplished."

The campaign

For the competition, the team developed a 26-page marketing campaign and a 20-minute presentation in response to a real-world case study co-authored by the Mary Kay marketing team and the AAF Academic Division 7. The case study focused on the Mary Kay brand as it relates to expanding its footprint with the 18- to 25-year-old market with the launch of products designed especially for this age group.

Because the district in which WMU competes was so large, it was divided into two simultaneous competitions. The WMU team placed third among its group, which included three other Michigan universities—Grand Valley State University (fourth place), Ferris State University (seventh place) and Central Michigan University (10th place). Purdue-Calumet University took first place.

Atkin incorporates this competition into the advertising and promotion major capstone project course. This year's student team won the opportunity to represent WMU in the course competition, which included three other teams.

Judges' comments

A Mary Kay representative, who served as a judge, noted that the team's knowledge and ability to reach a target would inspire client confidence, while other judges described the team as "fresh and smart, with great potential" and said that "the team had incredible energy."