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Butler’s Participation in the National Student Advertising Competition

Last week, Butler University’s advertising club, ADrenaline, boarded a plane to Orlando to compete against the nation’s 18 best ad clubs. Although we faced some tough competition, it was by far the most valuable learning experience I’ve encountered.

About a year ago, 250 universities nationwide were tasked with the responsibility of developing a $40 million integrated marketing campaign for State Farm that could successfully reach a whole new audience: 18-25 year olds. How do you get this market to purchase insurance? How can State Farm compete with gimmicky icons like talking geckos and Flo? Developing a campaign designed to do this wasn’t easy. ADrenaline conducted hours and hours of research, copy testing and tweaked countless rounds of designs, themes and logos. Our presentation team began practicing every day, and the rest of us worked on the mandated 32-page plans book that comprised half our total score.

We first competed at the regional level against schools from Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. We took first place and were thrilled to qualify for the national competition.

After three days of practicing, perfecting, and mingling with our competition in Orlando, we felt prepared to face the judges. Our five presenters gave a 20 minute presentation that unveiled our big idea – “Ready or Not, Here Life Comes,” a campaign emphasizing nostalgia and that moment where teenagers finally uncover their eyes to enter the real world of adult responsibilities. As usual, the presentation was flawless and impressive.

Although Butler didn’t place in the top 4, the experience alone was worth every second. Through conversations with other teams, listening to keynote speakers and watching the competition’s presentations, everyone should feel at ease that our industry is headed in the right direction. I was so impressed by everyone’s work – you wouldn’t believe how creative and innovative this generation has become; it’s seriously exciting.

On top of that, I felt truly lucky to be part of a Journalism program with professors and advisors that believe in competitions like these and put everything into their students’ success. These types of experiences make Butler students well equipped for the real world and give you an overwhelming amount of confidence that other graduates won’t have.

So, to end this post, here are a couple of things I learned through my experience working on a huge campaign for a client that’s kind of a big deal:

  1. Don’t underestimate research and copy testing. Nobody wants to invest millions of dollars into a campaign that hasn’t been researched extensively and creatively.
  2. The pitch is just as important as the printed work. If you can’t sell your idea well, nobody will buy it.
  3. You don’t need to “play it safe.” Just know how to convince your client why your “risky” idea will stand out among the masses. And have research to back it up.
  4. Don’t try to do too much. Focus on a couple GREAT ideas, not countless, mediocre ones.
  5. Don’t let the other guys get in your head. Whether or not you truly believe in your ideas and campaign will be easily evident to the client.

-Lauren Fisher

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