Behind the Scenes: JWU’s Winning ADTEAM

ADTEAM posing with award

It’s Friday, April 12th, and the Johnson & Wales ADTEAM is presenting for the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC), District 1. After six months of blood, sweat, tears and various types of food, it’s time to represent JWU against all other New England teams for the chance to advance to the semifinal round of the competition. With four of the most passionate, hard-working ADTEAM members presenting, it’s no surprise the day ended with a first place trophy.

This year’s client was Wienerschnitzel, a hot dog restaurant chain that most people on the East Coast have never heard of before. But, similar to JWU’s ADTEAMs from previous years, this year’s team rose to the challenge and created a fully integrated marketing campaign that earned us first place in the district competition.

Five other colleges in the region traveled to JWU’s Providence Campus to present their campaigns before the panel of judges at the Pepsi Forum auditorium. This is the first time JWU has hosted the competition in more than a decade, and we were very excited to see various members of the faculty, staff, alumni and student body come out to support us while we presented our campaign. Though the presentation lasted only twenty minutes, the long hours spent building the campaign were evident from the level of the work exhibited.

"This year’s team rose to the challenge and created a fully integrated marketing campaign that earned us first place in the district competition."

Judging for the district competitions happens on two levels. First, each team submits a plans book in March that is judged. Second, the presentations of the teams’ campaigns are judged on the day of the competition. Our team put in a lot of early mornings, late nights and out-of-classroom hours to create a campaign that met the client’s objectives, and a presentation that told the story of the campaign from start to finish.

It’s extremely hard to quantify exactly how much time the ADTEAM members spent working on the case, both in and out of the Ad Lab, but we can say that hot dogs were eaten more than 137 times during this season. It’s unlikely that any student who worked on this case will ever eat a hot dog the same way again.

In addition to the long hours and insane amount of food eaten, these students had the chance to explore agency life from every angle. Since the American Advertising Federation (AAF) hosts the competition, it is the premier source for advertising majors to network with professionals in the field and gain invaluable experience recognized by ad agencies across the nation. The competition also allows students to learn and grow into the field of advertising that they like the most, and to be part of a team of people who are all passionate about advertising and willing to work on any of the tasks needed to build the campaign.

"The ADTEAM has become an outlet for students to turn their passions into professional work experience and polished portfolio pieces."

“I see my teammates as setting the standards I could only hope to meet, motivating me to expect more and more of myself every day,” says Sydney Gray '19, a member of the presentation team and president of the JWU Ad Club. “Campus organizations, like the ADTEAM, have created an unbelievable student support network built on bringing together like-minded people sharing the same passion.”

The campus' Ad Lab has become a home for students with a passion for advertising, whether their passion is for designing cool advertisements, understanding how people interact with various products, or even trying to change people’s minds on a topic. The ADTEAM has become an outlet for students to turn those passions into professional work experience and polished portfolio pieces. “If this is the future of advertising, then we are golden,” says Lindsay Cardinale, strategy director of MullenLowe U.S., who was one of the judges that got an in-depth look at all of the campaigns presented.

For the next round of the competition, the champions from every district will present virtually in front of an entirely different panel of judges. This round will cut the competition in half for the final National Student Advertising Competition, held in June. In the meantime, our team is working tirelessly to prepare for the next round, so stay tuned for updates on how JWU stacks up in the semifinals. Until then, let’s put a fork in it.