Team Wins AAF Creative Crunch

By IAN ACHTERBERG ‘23, April 25, 2022

A small team of IMC majors won their first Creative Crunch

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Every semester, the Ithaca College chapter of the American Advertising Federation, Park AdVenue, hosts the Creative Crunch. Creative Crunch is an advertising competition that takes place over 24-48 hours, with students receiving a creative brief for a surprise client at the start and presenting their final campaign at the end of the time period. This most recent competitions’ brief was for Weber Grills. Students were tasked with constructing six advertisements, all part of a cohesive campaign backed by research.

Seven teams competed for the chance to win a small prize; additionally,  competitors hoped to earn the opportunity to place their win on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. The winning team, 56andCloudy, composed of Ian Achterberg ‘23, Brady Spaulding ‘23, Kate Miller ‘24 and Molly Fitzsimons ‘24, focused on a research-backed campaign to promote the new grills.

“Research is my favorite part of creating a campaign, so I was happy to jump on the research part of our creative crunch campaign. We spent a couple hours on Friday on databases like Statista, MRI/Simmons and Mintel to discover the psychographics of our target audience. We needed to know who had the biggest potential to buy a grill and what is their motivation behind buying a grill. This is how we landed our target audience of grill enthusiasts through our research. We discovered millennial parents want to experiment when cooking outdoors. This is how we reached our big idea of ‘discover what's possible,’” said Miller.

The team met over the 48 hours multiple times in order to complete the fast-paced project. Their campaign targeted millennial parents, using creative visuals and text to construct a social and print campaign.

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“We went a more visual route with our campaign because millennials and Generation Z aren't necessarily captured by descriptions anymore, they want to see the product and what it's capable of,” Fitzsimons said.

Besides a social and print campaign, 56andCloudy chose to do a brand integration, setting themselves apart from the other teams. Brand integration is an activity where consumers can see the brand in action, rather than a more traditional advertisement.

“Guy Fieri's show ‘Guy’s Grocery Games’ was the perfect fit for this campaign because he is always trying to push his contestants. Each contestant would spin the wheel that typically hinders the contestants, but rather they would each get a special add-on feature to their Weber 2022 Genesis Grill. Millennials and Generation Z like to see it work and the possibilities, not just read about it. Our data showed that they are likely to purchase add-ons, which gave them a ton of information about the grill in just one episode of a show,” said Fitzsimons.

Overall, the competition provided a useful experience and practice completing a project within a tight deadline, all useful experiences for the students to transfer to their careers.

The Creative Crunch was hosted by Park AdVenue, a student organization that aims to bridge the gap between school and the workplace with alumni meetings, trips and conferences.

Visit @parkadvenue on Instagram to learn more.