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School of Communication

Class simulates real-world marketing agency competition

Teams develop integrated marketing campaigns for fictitious product

A team presents its campaign during the marketing communications competition during spring term 2010. | Photo by Christopher Rolinson
Above: Members of the Padiddle Promotions team present their campaign during the marketing communications competition, held April 22 at the Spaghetti Warehouse. Below: The Padiddle Promotions team (top) and the Mad Hatter Advertising team (bottom).

May 2010

Point Park sophomore and junior communication students recently experienced first-hand what it’s like to be account executives in a marketing agency competing for a new account.

At the start of their spring term Marketing Communications class, Johan Yssel, associate professor of advertising,  gave his students the choice of how the class would be structured.  They picked a more non-traditional approach, opting for a semester-long competition that challenged them to apply their in-class lectures by developing an integrated marketing communications campaign for a fictitious product --  a sports drink with a self-cooling bottle.

Members of the two teams that competed in the marketing communications competition during spring term 2010. | Photos by Christopher RolinsonTo simulate the experience of two agencies competing for the same account, Yssel broke the class into two teams. He charged each group with developing an IMC campaign complete with product naming, logo design, labeling, market research, media and advertising planning and budget outlines.  The students were also responsible for organizing and raising funds for a semester-end dinner where they would present their campaigns to local industry leaders serving as judges.

“The purpose behind this was to prepare them for the real world – being judged by the industry and experiencing the heartache of, regardless how good the work was, the fact that only one agency can be awarded the account,” said Yssel.

The student agencies – self-named  Mad Hatter Advertising and Padiddle Promotions  – presented their campaigns on April 22 at the Spaghetti Warehouse in the Strip District.  The judges -- marketing communication consultant Meade Johnson, Mullen Advertising President Brian Bronaugh, and Marc USA Vice President and Senior Creative Director Andy McKenna  -- ultimately named Mad Hatter Advertising the winner. 

“The experience as a whole has strengthened me in many areas such a leadership, organization, and working with others,” said Katie Sansonetti, who led the Mad Hatter Advertising team.  “This class is something I can put on my resume and into my portfolio to show I have experience outside of a textbook.”

 “This type of experience is invaluable for students,” said Bronaugh about the competition.  All the judges complimented the students on their outstanding work and presentations.

Junior Meagan Stroud led the Padiddle Promotions team.

“This was definitely an amazing learning experience,” said Stroud.  “I know that I will be able to look back on this project for the rest of my life and know that I can do anything if I just put my mind to it.”

To offset the costs of the dinner and presentation materials, the students raised $945 by selling advertising for a program book distributed at the dinner.  They donated approximately $300 in unused funds back to the University’s Annual Fund for Student Success,  which supports student scholarships.

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