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Marketing mastery: Purdue Cal students win national title

Updated: June 5, 2014 11:14PM



Purdue University Calumet students have qualified for the finals of the National Student Advertising competition four of the past five years.

On May 30, this year’s Purdue Calumet qualifiers brought home the national championship.

Thirty-one students contribute

Thirty-one communication and marketing students contributed to the championship effort. The Purdue Calumet contingent topped a field of 140 college and university student teams from across the country.

During the eight-team finals, Purdue Calumet bested teams from the Universities of California at Berkeley, North Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Miami, Texas Tech, and Johnson and Wales University.

The competition, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation, challenged the student teams to think creatively and strategically in developing a $10 million, fully integrated advertising campaign for corporate sponsor and cosmetic direct sales company Mary Kay. Competing teams targeted Mary Kay’s 18- to 25-year-old female market.

“Winning this competition introduced the advertising industry to Purdue Calumet,” said university marketing instructor Matt Hanson, who directed and mentored the students throughout their winning effort. “Countless professionals and agency recruiters have been congratulating us through email, phone and social media.”

Experiential learning initiative

Hanson teaches Purdue Calumet’s Marketing 42900 Advertising Campaigns course, in which students prepare for the competition. The course is part of the university’s experiential learning initiative, in which students apply classroom and textbook lessons in a real-world environment.

“It was all about passion,” Purdue Calumet student presenter Nicole DiGiacomo, of Cedar Lake, said. “We believed in what we presented, and that’s what one of the judges told us that impressed them.”

Another presenter, Chris Magura, of Chesterton, said that in developing their campaign, he and his classmates attempted “to connect with their market on a personal level.”

Other student team members were Briana Angarola, of West Lafayette; Ana Luiza, Viana Borges, Amani Hamed, Michelle Krueger, Kellianne Lauer, Son Nguyen and Mike Pearson, Hammond; Jaime Burkhard, Fort Wayne; Miranda Redenbaugh, Cedar Lake; Ashley Drzal, Ashley Lewis, Sean Schafer and Carissa Stahl, Hobart; Erika Floyd, Gary; Anne Gallagher and Marissa Wolak, Highland; Lyneice Harris, Frankfort, Illinois; Dawn Jezuit, Matt Kush and Ashley Martin, St. John; Mike Krason and Rogelio Rodriguez, Lansing, Illinois; I-Chun Lee and Ana Murta, Crown Point; Asli Limoncu and Courtney Wagner, Munster; Benita Madry, Merrillville; and Tiffany Mettam and Raul I. Torres Jr., Lake Station.

Also district champs

Purdue Calumet earned a berth in the national finals by placing first in district competition earlier this spring and, subsequently, advancing through the national semifinal round.

The competition requires student teams to prepare and present a campaign book and make an oral presentation.

“Fifteen years ago, I was a student at Purdue Calumet when we competed in the same competition and placed last in our district,” Hanson said. “Since then, I’ve worked with many Fortune 500 clients and have even been in the trenches deciding how to advertise during the Super Bowl. I can’t imagine how far these students will go after their success at this level.”

Wes Lukoshus is assistant vice chancellor of marketing and communication at Purdue University Calumet. He can be emailed at lukoshus@purduecal.edu.



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