WMU advertising students take first place in national competition

Contact: Amy Coughenour

A team of Haworth College of Business advertising and promotion students has won first place in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—For the first time in Western Michigan University’s history, a team of 30 Haworth College of Business advertising and promotion students has won first place in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition. Sixteen teams representing universities in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan participated in the virtual two-day event. This is the fifth time in the last six years that the team has had a top-three finish in the competition. 

The competition

Each year a corporate sponsor provides a case study reflecting a real-world situation. Students create an integrated advertising campaign for the client that is pitched to a panel of judges comprised of professionals in the advertising industry and client representatives. Teams are judged on both presentation and original advertising collateral. 

This year’s team developed an advertising campaign for Meta Quest with the goal of convincing 18 to 24-year-old college students that a Meta Quest 2 VR Headset was an essential part of their college experience. Using a variety of traditional and non-traditional consumer touch points and carrying the tagline “Explore What’s Next. Quest is Ready.,” the WMU team conducted extensive research into the target market and virtual reality. 

“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 and promotion industry,” says Dr. Karen M. Lancendorfer, professor of marketing and director of the advertising and promotion program. “The amount of talent and passion on this team is incredible. They took a product that is not well known or used regularly by Gen Z and made it relevant for a new audience.” 

Meet The team

The WMU Haworth team was among 16 teams from universities across the region and placed higher than teams from Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Michigan State University. The team was comprised of advertising and promotion students in the major’s capstone course, and the competition served as the course’s final project.  

The WMU presentation team members included Katherine Caldwell of Jonesville, Molly Farrell of Kalamazoo, Hannah Korbel of Sawyer and Thomas Ziolkowski of Kalamazoo. “The project was challenging yet highly rewarding,” says Caldwell, who served as media director and plans book designer for the team. “It provided an invaluable real-world experience that helped prepare us for careers following graduation.”

Team members spent the fall semester working on the Meta Quest 2 project, including researching the target audience, learning about the product and developing their marketing materials. “Our first-place district win and presence at semi-finals are a testament to the outstanding education and experience that WMU and the advertising program offers,” says Ziolkowski.

Other non-presenting team members included: 

  • Ellie Arnold, creative co-director
  • Jessica Bonner, creative associate
  • Lizzy Bruley, strategy and consumer insights associate
  • Gianna Chlada, social media associate
  • Emily Conklin, media associate
  • Kristen Dornton, art and production associate
  • Ashley Enriquez, strategy and consumer insights co-director
  • Kevin Gawthrop, strategy and consumer insights associate
  • Matthew Harrison, media associate
  • Tram Huynh, art and production co-director
  • Madison Kadlec, creative co-director
  • Courtney Kohlstedt, creative associate
  • Jaz Kurzinski, strategy and consumer insights associate
  • Jackson Lawrence, IMC associate and media buyer
  • Ben Lemanski, strategy and consumer insights associate
  • Hannah Ludwick, art and production associate
  • Kiera McCullough, creative associate
  • Lily McCarthy, art and production associate
  • Alexis Morris, account executive
  • Olivia Neitzke, strategy and consumer insights associate
  • Maggie Neuman, social media associate
  • Bailey Papich, creative associate
  • Charles Poole, III, IMC associate
  • Isabella Reister, strategy and consumer insights co-director
  • Sydney Schramm, strategy and consumer insights associate
  • Matt Schuster, creative associate 

About the advertising and promotion program 

As one of the premier business advertising programs in the country, the advertising and promotion major at WMU Haworth 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 the industry. 

For more information about the program, contact Dr. Karen Lancendorfer at (269) 599-3351 or karen.lancendorfer@wmich.edu. 

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