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Liberty advertising team finishes runner-up in national competition

Liberty’s runner-up advertising team (clockwise from back left): Joseph White, Casandra Sappington, Katherine Lewis, and Victoria Cline.

Liberty University’s advertising team from the School of Communication & the Arts came in second place behind Brigham Young University (BYU) last month in its first year competing in the virtual Effie Collegiate Competition sponsored by Bose.

Due to the contest’s limit of four people per team, Liberty’s 12 students divided into three teams, all coached by adjunct professor and advertising team advisor Caitlyn Richard (’17, ’19). The runner-up team consisted of seniors Victoria Cline, Casandra Sappington, Katherine Lewis, and Joseph White.

The competition consisted of over 130 teams from schools across the nation and required creating a marketing campaign for Bose wireless earbuds with some of the company’s marketing team members serving as judges. Despite being the runner-up, Liberty’s top team was still asked to bring its presentation before the Bose global marketing team through Zoom days after the competition due to the project’s excellence.

“After our presentation, they said they were so impressed they wanted both us and BYU to present to (upper leadership),” Sappington said. “It went really well. There were over 100 people from Bose viewing our presentation.”

While this year’s team reached new heights regarding success, Richard said that she has enjoyed every year of working with the advertising team.

“I absolutely love it,” she said. “It’s so encouraging to see these students every year, who are most always seniors, have this culminating experience where they’re putting the last three and a half years of their communication degree together to actually bring something to life. It’s super rewarding.”

“With this being Liberty’s first year competing in the Effie Collegiate Competition, I had realistic expectations that we might not place until we learned the competition format,” she added. “This was truly a testament to the advertising team’s resilient spirit.”

Richard began working with the team in 2017 and desires to give Liberty students a taste of life in the advertising industry while still in college.

“We interview each student who wants to be a part of it and then we essentially run it like it’s a student advertising agency,” she said, acknowledging the team’s GSA, Abby Hayes, “who worked above and beyond to help ensure these students reached their full potential.”

After months of research each fall, Richard and her team focus on preparing for competition in the spring, all while seeking to be Champions for Christ.

“Everyone seems to go above and beyond at Liberty and I do believe that is because we have a greater purpose in life,” Cline said. “We have our sights set on the Lord and everything that we do is for Him. When you do things unto the Lord you begin to see the fruit of that, and I think God’s really moving at Liberty and amongst the students. It’s a beautiful thing.”