By Deanne Revel

SCAD won first place in the Seventh District of the American Advertising Federation regional competition of the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) on April 23 in Mobile, Ala.

SCAD won the regional competition once before, in 2007, the first year SCAD entered the competition.

A corporate sponsor provides a case study each year for the competition, reviewing product history and advertising. Students research the client and the client’s competition and then pitch an integrated communications campaign to a panel of judges.

The corporate sponsor this year was State Farm.

The SCAD NSAC agency name is called “Twelve” because of its 12 student members. The members include one writing major, Elyse Findley, and 11 advertising majors: David Bright, Alex Cairo, Alec Jankowski, Lauren Lenart, Amanda Mobley, Natasha Sokulski, Chelsea Spratling, Candice Swensen, Phillip White, Eric Willenson and Jimmy Zimmerman.

“Many of the other schools competing in this competition have anywhere from 30 to 50 people working on the NSAC project,” Phillip White, one of Twelve’s presenters. “Some of the teams we meet at nationals will have had their entire marketing department working. We wanted to showcase the fact that there were just twelve of us. Nothing fancy. Just twelve kids doing good work.”

There are two parts to the judging in the competition, a 32-page plans book and a 20-minute onstage presentation, each of which is weighted 50 percent of the total scoring.

“The team excelled in both areas, said Art Novak, advertising design professor and Twelve sponsor. “The students came up with a variety of creative ideas encompassing both digital and traditional media, and all supporting a catchy theme, ‘Are You Good,’ which came out of their extensive research and in-depth strategizing. All five of our presenters performed magnificently, with judges nodding their approval from the get-go. Presentation slides supported the plans book graphics and complemented the presenters perfectly.”

SCAD’s five presenters this year are fourth-year students Elyse Findley, Phillip White and Eric Willenson and third-year students Alec Jankowski and Lauren Lenart.

“Although research and media are critical components of the Plans Book and presentation, creative is weighted heaviest in the scoring, and this is an area where SCAD students clearly excel,” said Novak.

“In addition, we have the advantage of being able to call on students in other departments to collaborate with us. This year, film professor Michael Hofstein’s cinematography class shot and edited two TV commercials for us that exhibited a professional polish most other schools cannot match. So even though we only had 12 students on our NSAC team and other schools had as many as 45, we were more than able to hold our own.

“Fortunately, SCAD’s advertising curriculum also gives students a strong grounding in advertising research, media, strategy, and account planning. As a result, our ad students do not develop creative in a vacuum but as part of a comprehensive marketing plan based on solid research.”

“I think a lot of what set us apart from some of the other schools is that none of us were ever satisfied with our campaign,” White said.

“We were working up until the last moments tweaking our presentation to show our work in the best light. We’ve had a huge surge of validation after winning, but it’s like most of us can relate to here at SCAD: You never finish a project, you just stop working on it.”

Twelve will compete at the national NSAC competition in June in Orlando.