Sunday, April 20, 2008

TAMUK Students Compete in AAF National Student Advertising Competition

DALLAS - Members of the COMM 4306 Advanced Advertising class, the Graphic Arts Club and the Javelina Press Club participated in the American Advertising Federation's National Student Advertising Competition, April 16-19.
The Texas A&M University-Kingsville students had been preparing for this competition all semester and competed against some of the most established university advertising programs in the 10th district of the American Advertising Federation. Among the competitors was Texas State University, a former national champion. Other top universities in the competition were Louisiana State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Houston, Texas Christian University, Southern Methodist University, UT-Pan American, Angelo State, West Texas-A&M and others. All schools had the same project - to complete a advertising/marketing plan and strategy to help American On Line (AOL)improve their share of the online market by 15 percent. AOL representatives and judges from other sections of the country helped judge the competition.
The TAMUK team placed 13th out of 16 universities competing and created a buzz as a returning school that had not competed since 2001. "Most long-time observers felt we wound finish last or not even complete our 20-minute presentation," Todd Lucas, TAMUK art professor and sponsor of the Graphic Arts Club, said. "It is not unusual for the non-traditional participants to just not complete their program and finish last. We completed our performance, did well and learned what we need to do to improve our performance in the coming years."
TAMUK finished ahead of the University of Texas at Arlington, Hardin Simmons University and West Texas A&M. Texas State won the competition, marking the 8th time in 11 years it advanced to nationals. Last year's champ, TCU, finished second. Other top performers were SMU and OSU.
Lucas said that the presentation by the TAMUK students also generated some interest from advisers who sought him and the students out to offer graduate school opportunities.
"This was great. Our students got noticed as individuals, even though we performed as a team," Lucas said.
Lucas added that extra pressure was put on the team when senior political science and journalism major J.R. Quintanilla was chosen to represent the TAMUK Ad Team in choosing the order of the 16 presentations. Each team sent a representative to the front of the auditorium and each would ask to turn on a light bulb, representing the conference's theme - The Big Idea. As the light turned on, it would display a number that was inside the bulb. The TAMUK light bulb showed "No. 1."
"Well, that meant we were the first of 16 teams to go. We had to be ready to present at 7 a.m. We worked all night - many of us got only an hour or a little more of sleep that night - and were at the presentation room by 6 a.m. for one final rehearsal. Going first is always extra pressure, but our students were ready. They did a great job."
The class and club raised most of the money for the trip and also had help from the Student Engagement Funds and Students Services Fees.
"We thank everyone for their support, but most of all thank the students for their hard work," Lucas said.
Dr. Manuel Flores, associate professor of communications/journalism, is the lead professor in the class with Lucas assisting as a co-teacher.
"There are many improvements we can do to the class," Flores said. "It was our first time in a long while and I personally was hoping for a Top 10 finish. We didn't quite make that, but the competition is ferocious. The students who compete in this are dead serious about their opportunity and their future career. In the long run, it was a good experience for our students. It's as real-world as it gets and they met some of the people they will be competing with for jobs as they head out into the job market."
The TAMUK presenters included (pictured l to r) J.R. Quintanilla, Catherine Myers, Nereida Anaya, Vanessa Arellano and Roberta Flores. Students who helped with the props, research and technical aspects of the presentation who accompanied the team to Dallas were Carlos Alvarado, Veronica Arellano, Jeremy Martinez, Ashley Sanders, Ellie Tamez, Katherine Robinette, Ozzy Vela, Bob Pena and Diane Torres. Students who were in the class and helped with the preparations but were unable to attend were: Emily Lane Morin, Jacqueline Hutton, Carolyn Heatley, Angela Palacios, Rebecca Gutierrez, Michelle Leal, Alitrinette Scott, Mario Ramirez, Lorraine Rodriguez, Patrick Desmond, Valeri Earwood, Katrina Alejandro and Adrian Gamboa