Montana State University

Interdisciplinary MSU team wins regional advertising competition

May 2, 2017 -- From MSU News Service

Fifteen Montana State University students from the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship and College of Arts and Architecture placed first at the regional level of the National Student Advertising Competition, which was held April 20-22 in Portland, Oregon. Pictured with the students is their adviser, Mike Gold, an assistant teaching professor at MSU. Photo courtesy of the American Advertising Federation.

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BOZEMAN — Fifteen Montana State University students from the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship and College of Arts and Architecture placed first at the regional level of the National Student Advertising Competition, which was held April 20-22 in Portland, Oregon.

By winning the regional level of the competition, the team has earned the opportunity to participate in a May 4 phone interview and compete against 18 other teams to win a spot at the national competition, to be held June 7-8 in New Orleans. The top eight teams will advance to the national competition.

“I am immensely proud of our students; their hard work and relentless energy really paid off,” said Mike Gold, assistant teaching professor in the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship and the students’ adviser. “We are now competing at the highest level against schools such as Purdue, Syracuse, Brigham Young University -Provo, Oklahoma State, Florida State and Chapman University.”

As part of the competition, each year a corporate sponsor provides a case study reflecting a real-world situation to challenge students competing in the event. This year’s sponsor was Tai Pei, a frozen foods company that offers a wide variety of Asian-style entrees, and the objective was to increase sales and be the choice frozen food option for Millennials.

Gold said the students conducted research, including focus groups and a national survey, to better understand their target demographic and break out their Millennials into three user personas. From there they created an integrated campaign that outlined ways of reaching their audience, including a digital campaign, social media campaign, direct mail pieces, radio spots, sponsorships and partnerships. The students also planned in-store promotions, such as graphics that led consumers down the frozen food aisle where a gong would sound when they opened the freezer door. They also included sampling opportunities, promoting a “National Chinese Food Day” that Tai Pei would sponsor and using augmented reality technology to create a virtual game accessible via the Tai Pei packaging to increase brand engagement. Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

“The students do a great job every year, but they have been particularly outstanding this year,” said Kregg Aytes, dean of the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. “I am always amazed at how well they work together as a team across their respective disciplines to come up with creative and innovative solutions. I am excited to see how far this group will go in the competition.”

During the competition, the student team presented their ideas to a panel of judges that consisted of professionals in the communications industry. Other schools represented at the competition included Boise State University, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Idaho State University, University of Idaho, University of Oregon and Washington State University.

The MSU team also won awards for the most effective use of reporting and analytics and the most strategic approach to creating brand relevance in young Millennials.

MSU business students who participated in the competition included Kate Burgan, Jonathan de Caussin, Danny Holt, Danielle Kent, Sonja Jacobson, Adam Waldorf, Dylan Weber and Kendrick Wilson. Participating students from the MSU School of Art included Emily Brosten, Erik Dale, Walter Funke, Makenzie Guyer, Michael James, Eli Kisko and Anna Pierce.

Sponsors who supported the students included Jim and Connie Alderson, Flying Horse Communication, Great Falls Ad Federation, Jon Saunders at KBZK, MSU School of Art and the MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

For more information about the advertising course, contact Gold at mgold@montana.edu.

Contact: Audrey Capp, communications and PR, MSU Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, (406) 994-7026 or audrey.capp@montana.edu