Last week, a team of nearly two dozen Ithaca College students took home first place in the American Advertising Federation's National Student Advertising Competition in Hollywood, Florida, thanks to a last-minute change in their strategy.
The challenge was to create a strategic advertising, marketing and media campaign for Wienerschnitzel hot dogs. The team’s work started in the fall when assistant professor of strategic communication Lisa Farman had her Strategic Planning class begin researching the hot dog marketplace. But the team made a daring decision just a few weeks before they had to submit their plan that paved the way to victory.
“We re-wrote the entire plan, practically from scratch,” said Carlie McClinsey ’19, one of the team’s co-chairs and presenters. “We weren’t pumped about the direction we were going. Our creative team came up with a great new idea in two days, and we went ahead with it.”
Their idea? “Defend the Dog,” a courtroom concept where hot dogs were the defendants in a trial. “To us, hot dogs have always been a good food,” explained Connor Sheffield ’19, a member of the group’s creative team. “They’ve just been falsely accused of being a bad one. We set out to defend them.”
Executing the eleventh-hour pivot required a lot of additional work from the team, but Jessica Gallagher ’19, a member of the group’s media team, said that brought them closer together. “It’s fun doing the hard work at crunch time,” she said. “We really had a shared bonding experience due to all the late nights.”
The bold move paid off however, when the team heard their name called after Syracuse University, which finished third, and Liberty University, which came in second. “I was trying to keep my expectations reined in,” admitted Cole Puckett ’19, a member of the copywriting team. “When I heard our name, it was amazing.”