WMU students take third place in national advertising competition

Contact: Samantha Hooker

KALAMAZOO, Mich.— A team of advertising and promotion students from Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business placed third in its division of the American Advertising Federation's National Student Advertising Competition. Led by Dr. Karen M. Lancendorfer, professor of marketing and director of the advertising and promotion program, and assisted by Greg Gerfen, instructor of marketing, the team 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 fifth time in six years that a team from WMU has placed in the top three.

Nine individual photos of WMU advertsing and promotion students.

The team of WMU advertising and promotion students was tasked with developing a marketing campaign for the Tinder dating app.

The competition

Each year, a corporate sponsor provides a case study reflecting a real-world situation. This year, Tinder, the number one dating app, tasked students with developing a campaign to increase activations and foster brand love, a marketing strategy that aims to create brand-loyal customers and turn them into advocates. Approximately 150 schools and 2,000 students created integrated advertising campaigns for the client, pitching virtually to a panel of judges comprised of professionals in the advertising industry and client representatives. Teams were judged on both a 20-minute presentation and their original advertising collateral in the form of a plans book and creative executions.

Using a variety of social and digital consumer touch points, the WMU team conducted extensive research across national markets and presented the tagline "Why Don't We?" to reach the Generation Z target audience.

"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 am so proud of this year's team. They had to promote a brand that is building its identity as an app that results in successful, long-term relationships, and they really rose to the challenge."

The team

WMU was among 14 collegiate teams representing Illinois, Indiana and Michigan participating in event. The team was comprised of 32 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 Alyson Lemerand of Grosse Ile, Abby Macchiarolo of South Lyon, Amy Norton of Kalamazoo and Sarah Whitton of Brighton. Team leads were Caitlin Allen, Lucy Forster, Macchiarolo, Alexis Morris, Norton, Sara Osterhouse Schelb, Max Wicklund and Whitton.

"I gained so much experience working on this campaign," says Macchiarolo, co-account executive and presenter for the WMU team. "We worked together as an agency would. This experience is so much more than we could learn in a normal class setting.  Many employers I am interacting with have expressed how happy they are that I have had this experience and are incredibly impressed by how much we have learned."

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.

For more information about the program, contact Dr. Karen Lancendorfer.

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