2014 Advertising ClassEach year, Montana State University (MSU) business and graphic design students sign up for a grueling two semester advertising course taught by former Saatchi & Saatchi executive, Mike Gold. This hands-on course, BMKT 490 Undergraduate Research, offered through the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship (JJCBE), takes students from both disciplines and has them collaborate on a comprehensive marketing campaign for the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC).

For this competition, the American Advertising Federation partners with a major corporate client to present a case study that reflects a current issue the corporate client is facing. The more than 200 colleges, from across the country, participating in the competition develop an integrated marketing campaign that addresses the issue presented.

This year’s client was Mary Kay, and the students were challenged with making Mary Kay relevant to the 18-25 year old woman. Students were asked to research the product and its competitors, as well as the product and Mary Kay’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Students interviewed people about their perceptions of the brand, held focus groups, and collected survey data. After all the market research, the students then crafted a comprehensive strategy they titled “Breaking Boundaries,” which included updated package design, media placement, an independent beauty consultant (IBC) online portal, positive public relations through community involvement projects, special events, strategic partnerships, and even a bit of guerrilla marketing.

“The class did a great job again this year with a difficult direct marketing client. I’m immensely proud of the team beating schools of the size and caliber of the University of Oregon, Boise State and Washington State,” said Mike Gold.

All of this hard work culminated in a written marketing plan and a presentation at the competition in front of a panel of judges. On April 4, 2014, thirteen MSU business and graphic design students traveled to Eugene, OR, presented their campaign in front of professionals in the communications industry, and earned 2nd place.

A huge thank you goes out to sponsors supporting this group of students: Jim and Connie Alderson, Flying Horse Communication, KBZK Bozeman, MSU JJCBE, MSU School of Art, Northwestern Mutual, Montana and Mercury CSC.

For more information about this advertising course, please contact Mike Gold: [email protected].

(Photo) Left to Right:
(Back) Taylor-Ann Smith*, Mikaleen Lowe, Jake Mahan*, Derrick Kreuger, Andy Baker, and John Jurmu*
(Middle) Sam Middlestead, marketing teaching professor Mike Gold, Rachel Harrington*, and Scott Kundert
(Front) Sondra Sorenson, Joute Loften*, Kaci Shea, and Cassie Kline

*denotes graphic design students