For the fifth year in a row, School of Communication students took first place in the National Student Advertising Competition Fourth District of the American Advertising Federation held April 18 in Orlando. Under the direction of faculty advisors Meryl Blau and Melissa Jane Barnes, the team beat Florida State University and the University of South Florida, who placed second and third, respectively.

The National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC), organized by the American Advertising Federation, partners with a corporate client each year then challenges more than 200 college chapters to develop a marketing campaign.

"This year's case study came with a very unique, true-to-life set of challenges. Much like at a real advertising agency, the client threw a few wrenches into the process along the way. However, in true 'Canes fashion, our NSAC students not only faced, but also adeptly navigated those challenges. They proposed a strategy that was based on consumer insight and a creative campaign that was based on real-world application," says Barnes

The team developed a campaign for this year’s client, Pizza Hut, that left judges speechless. During the 10-minute Q&A session where students are asked difficult questions about their campaign, judges could not come up with any questions to ask and, instead, spent the time lauding the advertising pieces created by SoC students.

"The win at the regionals level not only underscored the hard work, dedication and sleepless nights it took to create a great campaign, but reinforced the fact that our students understand the value of working for a brand whose current equity and assets cannot and should not be ignored. While others seemingly tried to work around Pizza Hut’s new brand positioning, we used it to our advantage. We are so very proud of the accomplishments of this team, the solution and final story did not come easy, but we are certainly excited for the recognition and the opportunity to defend our winning title," says Blau.

The team is now in the semi-final round. The national competition takes place in Las Vegas, June 10-13.

“The University of Miami’s NSAC team has slowly but surely raised the bar for the entire competition, and schools representing all 15 districts across the country know who we are and that we’re the team to beat,” says Alyse Lancaster, department chair for the Department of Strategic Communication.