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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Activities & Organizations

Advertising students win first place

UH advertising students, Cougar Concepts, won first place for the first time in 16 years at the district National Student Advertising Competition, the world’s largest advertising pitch that represents 15 districts. UH falls under District 10 and is one out of more than 150 colleges and universities in the competition. | Courtesy of Mariam Mouna

Cougar Concepts, the UH student advertising agency, made history by winning the district National Student Advertising Competition for the first time in 16 years.

This win means that UH will be one of 17 schools participating in the national competition June 10-11 in Orlando, Fla.

The NSAC is sponsored by the American Advertising Federation and is the world’s largest advertising pitch with more than 150 colleges and universities representing 15 districts.  UH is part of District 10, which is one of the most competitive regions in the competition.

For the NSAC competition the students were given a product, a target market and a case study to use in order to create an inventive campaign book. The product was State Farm Insurance, and the target ages were 18-24 years old. Students were challenged to sell the product to this particular age group.

For the campaign book, students had to come up with a ‘big idea.’  The Cougar Concepts team chose to use the slogan ‘life starts with State Farm’ to conceptualize the idea that the age demographic targeted were ‘transitioners,’ or those young adults who are moving from financial dependence to financial independence.

“When we were coming up with our big idea, we tried to think of the reasons why we would choose a slogan and then dig deeper into the emotions behind our decision,” team member Maria Prachyl said.

Prachyl said she believes the win came from the fact that the team went in depth in their research.  The campaign book was an in-depth analysis of the brand, the target market, the creative strategy and execution.

This year, District 10 had 18 teams competing in the contest, and the competition was split into two groups.

Texas State University won the first competition, and UH won the second competition. The judges determined that UH had the best overall score out of the two teams giving them the win for district.

The first-place finish also puts UH in the top 10 percent of all the schools in the competition like Southern Methodist University, Oklahoma State University and Baylor University.

UH also won the Best Media Plan Award. Senior Seth Johnson won the best Individual Speaking award, and  Cheng-En Lee won an AAF scholarship worth over $1,500.

Advertising professor Larry Kelley said he was extremely proud of his team. He said that they had a lot of help from faculty and staff, calling it a Valenti School of Communication team effort.

“This win says that our students can really rise to the occasion.  They are typically first generation college students and all hold down jobs. They come from a very different environment than the students at SMU and Baylor,” Kelley said.

Not only did the students have work schedules to compete with, they had other obstacles as well. One team member just had a baby, one had surgery and another got married.  Though that didn’t stop the team from backing down.

The Cougar Concepts team overcame all this to take the title at the competition. Members dedicated the win to professor Robert Culpepper, an advisor in the competition for the past 14 years who suffered a brain aneurysm and a series of debilitating strokes in November that prevented him from participating in this year’s competition.

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