Students take third place in national student advertising competition

Contact: Samantha Hooker
Photo of WMU students, from left to right, Lydia Burton, Caitlyn Gordon, Kira Blanchflower and Kirill Eydinov.

WMU student presenting team, left to right, Lydia Burton, Caitlyn Gordon, Kira Blanchflower and Kirill Eydinov

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Led by Dr. Karen Lancendorfer, WMU professor of marketing and director of the advertising and promotion program, a team of advertising and promotion students from Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business placed third in their division of the American Advertising Federation's National Student Advertising Competition with a member of their team also winning the competition’s Best Presenter award. The students competed in District 6, which is considered a mega-district due to the high number of collegiate teams competing for the chance to move forward to the finals. This is the third consecutive year that a team from WMU has placed in the top three.

The team

The WMU team was among 16 collegiate teams representing Illinois, Indiana and Michigan participating in the two-day event held in South Bend, Indiana. The team was comprised of more than 50 advertising and promotion students enrolled in the major's capstone course, with the competition serving as the final project.

Members of the presentation team included Kira Blanchflower of Oswego, Illinois, Lydia Burton of Grosse Pointe, Kirill Eydinov of Sterling Heights and Caitlyn Gordon of Novi.

Eydinov also won the competition's Best Presenter Award.

"I was completely surprised, and I owe a big thank you to the presentation team and Dr. Lancendorfer, who were there every step of the way," says Eydinov.

"As someone who has previous experience working in an agency before taking this class, I can confidently say that the integrated marketing communications campaigns class prepares you for work in an agency setting," says Taylor Graham, co-director of media strategy for the WMU team. "You get hands-on experience working for a real client with a real business issue."

The competition

Each year a corporate sponsor provides a case study reflecting a real-world situation. This year, Wienerschnitzel, a premium hot dog restaurant, tasked students with developing a campaign that elevated the perception of hot dogs. Approximately 150 schools and 2,000 students create integrated advertising campaigns for the client, pitching to a panel of judges comprised of professionals in the advertising industry and client representatives. Teams are judged on both a 20-minute presentation and their original advertising collateral in the form of a plans book and creative executions.

Phot of 50 WMU advertising and promotion students standing on a staircase.

The team was comprised of more than 50 WMU advertising and promotion students enrolled in the major's capstone course, with the competition serving as the final project.

Using a variety of traditional and non-traditional consumer touch points, the WMU team conducted extensive research across national markets and presented the tagline "Happy Moments are Hot Dog Moments."

"This competition is an excellent way for students to learn about the advertising campaign process since it mirrors what they will do for a real client when they enter the advertising industry," says Lancendorfer. "I'm so proud of this year's team. They had to promote a category rather than a specific product, and they really rose to the challenge.

About the advertising and promotion program

As one of the premier programs in the country, the advertising and promotion major at WMU attracts creative, strategically minded students and provides them with an interactive education that ensures they will have the skills and knowledge necessary for success. Advertising and promotion faculty bring years of practical experience to the classroom and maintain close ties with industry through applied research and consulting. WMU students excel in national student advertising competitions, including the EdVenture Partners National Case Study Competition and the National Student Advertising Competition where students regularly place in the top three.

For more information about the program, contact Dr. Karen Lancendorfer at (269) 387-5996 or

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.