Last week, I was given the opportunity to take a look into some of the most strategic and creative minds of the next generation of advertisers. I was invited to serve as a semi-finalist judge in the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) alongside three marketers from Tai-Pei.
Walking into the room, I had no idea what to expect –
This year, 200+ teams from colleges and universities from across the country competed through creating a detailed and comprehensive two-tier ($10M and $15M) strategic advertising, marketing and media campaign for Tai-Pei. All highly qualified, in the semi-finals round I judged the remaining 18 pitches, which we were tasked to narrow down to 8 finalists.
Minutes into the first pitch, I was blown away.
The competitors came equipped with so much energy, drive and passion that I was inspired. As an agency president and leader of new business, I’ve been on both ends of hundreds of pitches, but many of these undergrads nailed the pitches, as a seasoned agency team would. Not only did they sell their ideas, but also developed very sound, robust, multi-faceted campaigns… (I almost hired a few on the spot).
18 presentations later, we deliberated and I went back to the agency…refreshed, inspired, and humbled (but it was also Cinco de Mayo, so that could’ve been effects of the salsa.) Who would have thought that a bunch of fresh-faced 20-somethings could teach some industry veterans a thing or two about putting together a campaign?
A few insights that I took away as a reminder for continuous improvement:
Perhaps my largest takeaway is confidence. I’m confident the next generation is stronger than ever before – for agencies and brands alike, we’re in good hands.
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