Chapman University’s Ad Club just won the entire NSAC competition, placing first at the National level!  Congratulations to the entire team, faculty advisor Cory O’Connor, and the dedicated Chapman fans throughout the campus: you’ve all worked so hard – you deserve it!

What is the NSAC?  It’s the National Student Advertising Competition, a national program held yearly to hilight and foster the most creative and hard-working students working towards careers in the advertising industry.  From their website:

How the NSAC Works

Each year, a corporate sponsor provides an assignment or case study outlining the history of its product and current advertising situation. The case study is always candid and reflects a real world situation. Students must research the product and its competition, identify potential problem areas and devise a completely integrated communications campaign for the client. Each student team then “pitches” its campaign to a panel of judges.

Regional NSAC competitions are held each spring in 15 districts throughout the U.S. The winning team in each district and one wild card team then advances to compete on the national level at the AAF National Conference in June.

With over 150 teams entered, the competition is divided into regional preliminaries and nationwide finals, meaning the competition even within districts, can be extremely trying.  This year, our team was zoned into District 15, alongside other heavy-hitters like UCLA and USC, among other California rivals, making even the first round of elimination a harrowing experience for the fledgling Ad Club.  After winning the District competition (pictured above) for the second year in a row, the team prepared for about a month getting ready for the final National performance in Orlando, Florida – balancing carefully all the year-end hysteria that comes with being a college student.  They had to raise a substantial amount of money to fund the travel out to Florida, polish and finalize the campaign for its penultimate performance, all while minding the (in comparison) mundane concerns of finishing senior projects, preparing for internships and careers, graduating, and – you know – celebrating.

This year’s sponsor is State Farm, the red-themed insurance agency, and their charge was to connect to a younger, connected generation who tend to be less concerned about – and aware of – the implications of purchasing insurance.  To this end, the team conducted extensive research into milennials’ knowledge, confidence, and purchasing intent, looking not only at the standard family customers, but especially on the soon-to-be-independent college crowd, as well as the subcategory of Latino/as who are traditionally marginalized by national insurance corporations.  Discovering that these demographics generally distrust companies and pushy salesmen – even under the guise of “keeping in touch with the consumer” – and put a premium on flexibility and mobility when it comes to interacting with sales agents, the Ad Club created its campaign (“Feel Free”) to hinge around emerging technologies: social media, mobile business, Twitter, etc.  With team-designed apparel – a striking combination of red accents graphically extending the State Farm brand – and an integrated multimedia presentation including videotaped interviews, summaries of research and planning, internet and TV-ready spots, a print publication, and of course, a thoroughly engaging and informative pitch from the five hard-working presenters, the Ad Club pounced on the Orlando stage, determined to show the country what this impressive, up-and-coming University, is all about.

And they did.  Oh my, how they did.

While I couldn’t be there myself, I have heard tell that the final presentation was fittingly amazing.  Flawless, even.  That’s what it takes to bring home a national win at this prestegious competition – and while I’m sure he’s even more excited than after his team won the Districts just over a month ago, Cory O’Connor must also be thinking: how can we do it again next year?

So, NSAC team: take your time, enjoy Orlando, rejoice in the summer – you’ve earned it – and get ready to bring home the gold again in 2011!

PS: If you’re in need of a sofa, there is some indication that a certain hotel in Florida may have one just waiting for a new home.