In this blog, I look at the past 9 months of work my amazing team and I have put into creating a creative and engaging advertising campaign for AAF — NSAC.

What in the world is AAF NSAC? Great question! The AAF is the American Advertising Federation and the NSAC is the National Student Advertising Competition. It’s an amazing event where a company sponsors a competition which allows students from across the nation to develop an inspiring advertising and marketing campaign concluding in a presentation and judging ceremony with trade professionals.

Why does it matter? It matters because it allows teams ranging in size from 4 to 100s to brainstorm, understand brands, develop target markets, mature creative briefs, execute ideas, and compete through real and opportunistic experiences.

Okay… But what did you learn?

For real… I learned so much. But I’m going to boil and highlight just 5 of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned from leading and working closely with an amazing team of 34 individuals.

1) Teamwork is Dreamwork

Teamwork for the win! 🙌

Teamwork for the win! 🙌

This isn’t a joke. Just like the two above. Teamwork is what drives the campaign forward. You could have no idea what is going on or where you want to move forward. But when you put enough minds together a ball starts to roll. A 12-month campaign from ideation to execution and everything in-between isn’t something you can just do by yourself. It takes a team of talented individuals moving cohesively. Cohesively doesn’t mean the team can’t have different visions for the campaign or ideas on certain projects. If you don’t butt heads I think you should begin to worry about groupthink. Groupthink produces at best mediocre work. The ability to use your team, disagree and grind things out to move a project forward is crucial. You can’t be afraid to love your team so much you can disagree strongly. 

2) It Takes a Village to Move a Mountain

Never has this resonated more with me. As a presenter and leader of the teams, it literally took a village to make me “look dope.” I’ve always been a firm believer in the notion of “It takes a Village to Raise a Child” and to many degrees a campaign of this magnitude is a child. It’s a massive mountain that no one person can conquer by themselves. It takes a team (and then some) to even begin to understand how big of a challenge you are undertaking. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

3) Creativity is Everywhere

Creativity is everywhere and priceless. The wildest thing that I realized is that every experience you have opens and shifts your lense deeper and deeper into something different that’s more “you”. Every individual has their own experiences and have created a different lense to see and experience the world through. This allows for an amazing experimentation not just in the arts, but in the media buys, the budgeting, the research of a campaign, everything. Creatively executing a budget is an art that tops many traditional artistic endeavors. 

4) Competitors are Inspiring

Oh Chloe...

Oh Chloe...

Same Chloe…Same. BUT so does your competition. And they have not come unprepared. They understand what is on the line and they too have a strong creative team behind them pushing forward. I have never had more respect for my competitors than during this presentation process. Their ideas were inspiring, engaging, and truly fun to see. The out-of-box thinking that some teams brought to the table was inspiring. I know their my competitor, but the work was inspiring. Inspiring to look at, experience, and learn from. Each one added a new way of thinking and truly made the entire experience enjoyable. (PS: We didn’t win. I know Chloe it happens.)

5) Resources can differ yet Results can be eerily similar

The NSAC competition varies greatly in the resources each university puts behind their team. Some colleges have classes specifically focused around this with over 100 students involved. Some Universities include this as an extra-curricular that students have to go out of their way to be involved in. But the thing that surprised me most about this is the tenacity that the universities with smaller resources had. They had a drive that was second to none, and produced executions, that while a little rough around the edges, definitely had direction and purpose and as a whole was well crafted. Their concepts many of the times had just as much creativity and purpose behind it as those with teams of 100 individuals working on it. It just goes to show you that resources, while beneficial in polishing, don't limit creativity.

These are only some of the take-aways…

I could probably go on for hours talking deeper and deeper about the amazing friends I’ve made and hours of presentation memorization that was done to only have me mess-up during my final monologue… But that’s okay we rolled with it. 

I highly recommend any individual that is interested in NSAC to look for your universities team. It’s an experience I’m extremely thankful for and would do again in a heartbeat. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions!

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Thanks for reading! Felt it could be improved? Awesome let me know how HERE. I'm always looking to improve. Now go have fun!

Austin