Youngstown State University’s Advertising Club will travel to Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the 41st annual National Student Advertising Competition on Saturday.
In an attempt to encourage healthy, interdisciplinary collaboration, both graphic design students and advertising majors will represent YSU in this year’s competition.
“You can’t separate the two — advertising and the design side of things. It’s alleviated some of the pressure on the advertisers because they don’t have to worry too much about the design, and it has been a great ad competition team,” said Michael Pontikos, a marketing and advertising professor and co-adviser to ADS Club.
Richard Helfrich, an assistant professor of graphic design and co-adviser to ADS Club, also positively commented on the interdisciplinary project, pointing to the success the team experienced last year.
“This is the second year the two academic areas have worked on the project, and last year, we were acknowledged for having the best book design and visuals,” Helfrich said.
ADS Club has developed a 26-page plan book that contains a hypothetical advertising campaign to endorse the competition’s sponsor — Mary Kay. On Saturday, the team will present its book in front of a panel of judges.
Cori Pavlico, senior advertising and public relations major and president of ADS Club, expressed confidence in her team’s ability to pitch this advertising campaign to the judges.
“I’m very confident. We have a great presentation team,” Pavlico said. “I feel like we all really know the pitch and the campaign well. And, we are confident that our strategies and materials are the best. … We’re really proud to be representing YSU.”
Though Pontikos said he is “fired up” for Saturday’s competition, he said that winning is not the most important part of the event.
“Whatever happens happens, but I know that the kids have a great plan book when they go on in their careers that will help them,” Pontikos said. “This process, whether we place first or last, the kids are getting something out of it. … Yeah, you want to win all the time, but … it’s also a learning experience.”
Helfrich indicated that the ad competition provides participating students with hands on work experience, allowing them to work in an environment that is similar to that of an authentic advertising agency.
“The [ad competition] is both a curricular and real-world experience that provides students in both academic programs the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of their role in a creative team, insight into each others discipline and abilities to develop leadership/time management skills prior to graduation that prepares them for the professional world,” Helfrich said.
ADS Club members agreed with Pontikos.
“We even said out loud, ‘Wow. This is what it’s going to be like in the future, working on [advertising] campaigns,’” Pavlico said.
Christy Hartman, a graphic design major who helped design advertisements and contributed to the plan book’s layout, added that the graphic design and business students have learned from one another.
“We worked really well together,” Hartman said. “We taught them a little bit about design and they taught us a little bit about the advertising part, so I think we worked well together.”