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HPU advertising club wins District 13

by Vanessa Katz, A&E editor


“The results this year were the closest ever, the second place team separated by only three tenths of a point, and the winner of this year’s National Student Advertising Competition is…” A year of work, by more than 30 HPU advertising students depended on the next three words to come out of the announcer’s mouth. Award shows keep the drum rolling for at least 20 seconds to keep the audience engaged and held in suspense. Well, this drumroll seemed to be beating for at least 20 minutes before the announcement was made: “Hawai‘i Pacific University!”

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In an instant replay, Dr. Helen Varner was the first to jump for joy, followed by a wave of shrills from the all-girl presentation team and an intense group hug.

“We tried to be gracious winners, but after a year of stress, disagreements, and deadlines, we needed a release. After five minutes of hugging and screaming, communication faculty member and AAA Advisor, Dr. Joanne Gula suggested that we should accept our awards.”
The HPU team received a gigantic check from Toyota Hawai‘i and each presentation team member received a plaque and an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles, to compete in Nationals, held at the American Advertising Federation’s National Conference from June 4 to 8 at the Century Plaza Hotel. Our presentation ranked 12th in the nation and our whole effort tied for 15th overall.
The AAF’s National Student Advertising Competition is the premier college advertising competition. It provides more than 3,000 college students with “real-world” experience by requiring a strategic advertising/marketing/media campaign for a real corporate sponsor. Schools compete regionally to present their campaigns to a panel of industry executives at the AAF National Conference. More than 80,000 students have participated in the competition since 1973 when it began. It is an important vehicle for ad industry recruiters seeking new talent. All members of the HPU team were approached by recruiters and complemented on the presentation.
As the 2003 NSAC sponsor, Toyota Motor Sales challenged more than 6,800 students on 210 campuses to develop a national marketing and communications strategy to build awareness of its Toyota Matrix XR. The car appeals to all drivers, but especially to the 20-to-30-year-old market as it combines the style of a hot rod, the versatility of an SUV, and all the functionality anyone will ever need. The goal was to increase awareness by five percent.
HPU was one of two all-girl presentation teams to compete at Nationals. Teneal Jones, Katie Pebley, Vanessa Beckett, Sylvia Zhuang, and Vanessa Katz were accompanied by alternates Kate Bepko, Synna Coito, and Kristine Andrews.
Akamai Advertising Agency, the advertising club at HPU, is open to all HPU students. AAA works together with the students in ADV 4900, Seminar in Advertising, HPU’s capstone advertising course, to fully develop an integrated marketing campaign for each year’s NSAC sponsor. For several months, the students, working in teams, conducted primary research to study the target market including its media habits and the competition.
The NSAC was judged based on two parts. The first part, which is completed by early April, is the plans book, a written explanation of the advertising campaign. The second part is the 20-minute presentation made to a regional panel of judges in late April.


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