I joined the National Student Advertising Competition team in fall 2008, hopeful it would provide me with a real-world advertising experience I desperately needed. Looking back, it trumped every expectation I ever had. Along the way, I've had the privilege of working with more than 30 talented NSAC students in generating the core insights that led to The Other Hangover, co-advised eight undergraduate students in implementing the campaign, and developed and led a large-scale quantitative campaign evaluation. To sum up my involvement with The Other Hangover as a "learning experience" would not encapsulate the impact or degree to which this project has strengthened me as a professional and individual.
Each phase of the campaign brought new challenges and transformed me in different ways. Campaign development showed me the importance of team synergy in promoting a productive atmosphere. Camaraderie, commitment and perseverance were key ingredients that held the team together and led to us creating a successful campaign strategy. A special shout-out must be given to the three NSAC presidents - Jeanine Lilke, Erin Lamberty and Danielle Ouellette - who were each dedicated to pushing our team harder, compelling us to be superior in every regard.
While my team members graduated and secured jobs in advertising, I opted to pursue a master's degree through the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. I was exhilarated when we unexpectedly won a grant to implement The Other Hangover on campus. Even more, I was among the only original campaign members still hanging around Murphy Hall; as a graduate student, I was in a unique position to help advise a new team of students in bringing the strategy to life.
Transferring the intensity and connection of the campaign strategy to a new generation of future advertisers and adapting the campaign to match the environment and budget was a battle in itself. Waist-high in media contracts, printing vendors, creative specs, financial transactions and legal documents, we all quickly learned the power and importance of leveraging networks and resources to accomplish goals.
It is difficult to pinpoint the most rewarding part of this experience; giving media pitches and live interviews certainly top the charts. The real moments of satisfaction have been watching students not only react to our messages, but also interact with and seek out our campaign.
While the process has been long, intense, and at some points downright overwhelming, I am thankful I had the opportunity in the end. It provided me with confidence that I can leverage my skills and accomplish anything with desire and hard work. -- Michelle Gross