UA’s AdTeam Wins American Advertising Federation National Championship

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A University of Alabama student advertising team won the national championship in the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) World Series of Advertising competition held in Las Vegas.

UA’s AdTeam, consisting of some of the University’s top advertising and public relations students, beat 15 other colleges and universities, including defending champion UCLA who finished third. Indiana University and the University of Texas finished second and fourth, respectively. In April, UA won its district competition to advance to the finals, which included the top 16 schools from the more than 150 that competed.

The University won the championship based on its “You Want More” advertising campaign designed for this year’s client, “The New York Times.” The newspaper challenged participating schools to stimulate long-term readership and loyalty to the publication among college students and recent graduates through a multi-media approach, incorporating the use of advocates and direct response promotional offers. Judges from the newspaper and its advertising agencies made the final decision to declare UA the champion.

“The Alabama students captured the motivation and relentless pursuit of success so important to this next generation market,” said Janet Robinson, president and general manager of “The New York Times.”

The AdTeam submitted a 40-page report, known as a campaign plan book, which outlined strategies for meeting the client’s objectives. Along with a full-bodied advertising campaign, the team presented 11 public relations and promotional programs that positioned the Times as a leading choice among 18 to 24 year-olds by surveying more than 900 readers within that age group. The University was graded for its overall plan and for a 20-minute presentation, which accounted for half of the total score.

“The amount of work that went into this is staggering,” said Dr. E. Culpepper Clark, dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS). “The students walk away from this with an experience that will last them a lifetime and, professionally, it will give them a leg up in any future endeavors. It’s the kind of work, recommendations and proposals that would be very welcome by any client.”

The AdTeam’s coach, Tonya Nelson, in her first year as a member of the College’s advertising and public relations faculty, led the team to the pinnacle in collegiate advertising competition in her first attempt.

“Reese Phifer Hall (the building on the UA campus that houses C&IS) is a long way from Madison Avenue — the legendary address for great advertising. But students on this team prove that creating a winning campaign is more about innovation than geography,” said Nelson. “Before even bringing home the district championship in April, our advertising and public relations students logged in nearly 800 hours between classes, in the evenings and on weekends in preparation for this competition.”

“This experience is like no other I have had while at the University. It really makes you think about advertising decisions,” said Christine Beittel, a senior from Herndon, Va. “Now I know that if I want to convince a client to do something, I need to back it up with a ton of evidence and some really great reasons why I think it’s a good idea.”

The AdTeam builds on a history of national championship achievements within the College of Communication and Information Sciences. This past spring, the debate squad brought home eight individual national titles from two national events. Within the debate’s squad 52-year history at the University, it has recorded 13 team national championships. Also, the College is home to two Hearst individual writing championships — considered widely to be the “Heisman Trophy” of journalism excellence.

The American Advertising Federation has a membership of more than 50,000 advertising professionals and includes more than 200 clubs, 115 corporate members and 260 college chapters. More than 80,000 students have participated in the national collegiate competition over the organization’s 27-year history.

2000 University of Alabama AdTeam Members

Team Director: Tonya Nelson
Elizabeth Beauchamp – Fayette, Ala.
Christine Beittel – Herndon, Va.
Julie Blodgett – Hayden, Ala.
Christine Campanaro – Oxnard, Calif.
Jacqueline Godby – Chapmanville, W.Va.
Melissa Loftin – Dothan, Ala.
Michael Margolies – Charleston, S.C.
Justin McVay – Muscle Shoals, Ala.
Christian Rogers – Marietta, Ga.
Clint Smith – Springville, Ala.
Ambry Worsham – Ozark, Ala.