IMC Students Participate in Washington Media Scholars Foundation Media Plan Case Competition

Two teams of IMC majors are currently involved in the Washington Media Scholars Foundation Media Plan Case Competition, a media planning competition with a grand prize of $5,000. Lauren Denecke and Sara Harmon, both class of 2016; and Kyle James and Kristina King, class of 2016 and 2015 respectively, have submitted their case plan and are awaiting the results that could earn them an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June 2014 for a media conference.

Starting in 2010, the WMSF has sponsored an annual scholarship competition. Interested students nationwide submit the first-round materials as a team or as an individual. The first-round involves allocating a budget across given media outlets in an Excel sheet and a written explanation of the media choices. Following round one, 60 students are selected to move on to the second round, and those who competed as an individual will be assigned a partner. The second round gives competitors background information and a set of simulated data to use to create a media campaign. The final deliverables are a media flowchart, a 10-15 page paper, including graphics and a summary sheet.

Both Ithaca teams are currently ranked in the top 30 teams and have submitted the round-two files. WMSF Correspondent Kara Watt will notify the teams in the coming weeks if they are among the top six teams, an honor that would advance them to the final stage of the competition in Washington, D.C.

“I think we have a chance of making it to Washington, D.C., in June,” said Lauren. “Sara is the most brilliant person I know, and I think we did a really great job.”

Kyle also expresses “moderately high” confidence stating, he “won’t be crushed if we don’t make it, but it’d be awesome if we did.”

In round one, both teams contributed about four hours to the competition. For round two, Kyle and Kristina estimated 10 hours of work, and Sara and Lauren estimated 15. “Trying to find time,” was credited as the most challenging and least favorite aspect of the competition.

“Participating in the competition was worth it,” said Sara. “I really enjoyed the challenge of choosing which media vehicles to use to reach our target audience.”

The out-of-classroom experience gained from this competition is a shared, positive sentiment. Media planning is a required course for IMC; the course is described as “advanced application of the qualitative and quantitative study of media audiences.” The competition asks students to apply these elements, as the data given has both qualitative and quantitative aspects to sort through.

The Washington Media Scholars Foundation started over 30 years ago, with the competition happening over the last four. The goal is to give students an opportunity to look into the world of public-policy advertising and to meet leaders in the media industry. Many students involved have interned or worked for the people they met through the program. In addition to the competition, WSMF offers the Media Fellows Program, a scholarship awarded to undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career related to the public policy advertising industry. More information is available on its website

Contributed by Lauren E. Denecke, IMC major, class of 2016.


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