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Akamai's reputation brings hope for nationals

by Cindi Baxter, assoc. Opinion editor

Akamai Advertising, the AAF (American Advertising Federation) student agency at HPU, was recently denied the opportunity to compete regionally against other student advertising groups in the National Student Advertising Competition when the only competitor, University of Hawai‘i-Manoa, dropped out. However, given HPU’s reputation as a past competitor, the AAF said it would allow HPU to compete for one of two wildcard spots.



The NSAC is an annual competition that offers an opportunity for the top schools in the nation to provide advertising students a real-life experience through a competition, to create and present a full ad campaign for a corporate sponsor.

This year’s sponsor VISIT FLORIDA, Florida’s tourism marketing corporation, set the goal to increase lodging and tourism. Each school must create a complete plans book and develop and make a 20-minute presentation of this campaign. The top schools, out of 210 college and university advertising clubs, will be chosen to go to nationals, including two wildcard spots available this year.
According to Akamai President, Vannessa Katz, HPU has competed the last 10 years, and has made it to nationals eight times.

Last year, HPU beat UH-M by three-tenths of a point, and went to nationals located in Los Angeles, Calif. HPU’s presentation placed 12th in the nation.

In order to compete at nationals, the school advertising club has to win its regional division. Because HPU’s only competitor this year, UH-M, decided to drop out, there will be no regional competition in Hawai‘i.

After many talks with the AAF, HPU has been recognized for its previous excellence, and given the opportunity to submit its plans book to compete for one of two wildcard spots at the national competition to be in Dallas, Texas.

The situation has generated a lot of mixed emotions from students participating in Akamai. Many students look forward to the competition as part of the Advertising program, because it gives them a “real-life” experience and requires strategic and creative thinking.

Akamai’s plans book must be submitted by 5 p.m. March 31, and it will compete with about eight other mainland colleges. FLAUSA will send judges between April 15 and May 2 to evaluate Akamai’s presentation, according to Dr. Joanne Gula, AAA advisor and faculty member. This critique will benefit the members of Akamai, and will offer feedback if HPU wins a wildcard spot to nationals.

“ It shows that the AAF thinks HPU is important enough to stay in the competition,” said Gula.
HPU didn’t have a chance of going to nationals a couple weeks ago, and now it has an opportunity to come up with a complete plans book and hope for one of two wildcard spots at nationals.


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