Advertising team captures second place

She stood before four judges as the crowd filed in, ready to reveal the presentation she and her 10 group members had spent the last two semesters researching and planning. Senior advertising major Abigail Fleming leaned over and whispered, “In our weakness he is strong” to the teammate beside her, then dazzled the crowd with a top-notch presentation performance.

Fleming was a member of Liberty University’s team of students who competed at this year’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). The NSAC is an annual competition which mimics a real-life advertising situation by providing students with an assigned corporate sponsor and offering them their advertising history and strategy. Students must then research the product and devise and present a fully integrated advertising approach.

The team captured second place, falling behind the University of Virginia by less than one on hundredth of a point and brought home the top presentation award. The competition was held at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Charlotte, N.C., April 23 and 24. Liberty competed in the NSAC’s District 3, which included schools from Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Liberty communications professor Dr. Angela Widgeon coached the team this year. In past years, Liberty has never received higher than fourth place at the event, but this year they raised the bar.

“They received so much praise from other coaches, teams, judges and the district coordinator,” Widgeon said. “(They were) pleasantly surprised by the campaign.”

The Ad Team Practicum is COMS 399, a one-credit practicum offered both during the fall and spring semesters. The fall semester involved tedious research, where students interviewed people about their neighbors and questioned State Farm employees to learn about the company. Students then took their research and molded it into a campaign and a plans book during the second semester.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s so worth it,” senior advertising major Nicole Carlson said.

“Even if we didn’t win first place, we developed such deep relationships that we will remember for much longer than we will remember the competition,” Fleming said.

“Dr. Widgeon is the best professor I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Fleming said.

Widgeon said she wanted her students to understand what it means to be part of an ad campaign and what it means to believe they can win. She tried to take protective action against negativity, by not allowing the team members to discuss competing teams and how their presentations looked or telling the students who won in past years.

“They needed to just focus on what they needed to do and what God needed to do through them,” Widgeon said.

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