In this Murphy Reporter, we report on the work of our National Student Advertising Competition Team (NSAC) solving an important and complex campaign challenge presented by the American Advertising Federation. The NSAC campaign process begins with a case study from a corporate sponsor and a real-world problem. Many campuses around North America make this part of a senior campaigns course, but not at Minnesota – students here take on this challenge as an extracurricular commitment. We provide a faculty adviser, but the achievement belongs entirely to the students.
More than 150 teams compete across 15 districts. They come from business schools, design schools, advertising departments and strategic communication programs, such as ours. Competition is fierce and in recent years Minnesota has landed in the national finals more frequently than any other program.
The NSAC competition has tremendous value as an educational opportunity because it requires sophisticated situation analysis; original research, both qualitative and quantitative; deep analysis of the communication environment and the target audience; clearly defined media strategy; strategic insight coupled with a carefully defined creative execution; and detailed budgeting, evaluation and superb presentation skills.
In 2009, our students came up with a brilliant campaign and demonstrated their capacities to work effectively in close collaboration against tight time constraints. The caliber of their work led to an unprecedented opportunity to actually launch the campaign in 2010 with funding from The Century Council, the sponsoring organization. I think you'll agree the work done by our students is groundbreaking. You can experience the campaign in more detail at theotherhangover.sjmc.umn.edu.
Elsewhere in this issue we highlight another of our except-ional student opportunities. Imagine walking into a class with 30 other students not knowing the backgrounds, inter-
ests and capabilities of your classmates but knowing that in the course of the next 15 weeks you'll develop a new magazine concept, organize yourselves into all the roles necessary to create and edit a magazine and bring it to production both for a print platform and for the Web. I invite you to see for yourself how our students are meeting this challenge by logging onto refuge.umn.edu and blur-mag.com. These sites include PDF versions of the print publications and offer opportunities to experience Web-only content. I believe it is important to acknowledge that our students are able to take on projects allowing them to develop these sophisticated managerial, planning and storytelling capabilities because of the production funding provided by the Milton L. Kaplan Memorial Fund, a permanent endowment supporting magazine editing and production in the school. This is an excellent example of how gifts to the school directly enrich the learning environment and help students launch their careers.
We are very proud of our students' accomplishments and continue to look for ways to provide them with the mix of academic and professional opportunities to prepare them for their futures. If you glance at the Alumni Notes section, you will see ample evidence of our recent grads' successes in starting their careers or entering a graduate program for further study.
ALBERT R. TIMS, Director