Advertising Students Earn Recognition in Effie Collegiate Competition

Team Named National Semi-Finalists for Work in IBM Brand Challenge

A team of advertising students from the Kent State School of Media and Journalism recently earned semi-finalist status in the national competition Effie Collegiate.

Modeled after the Effie Awards U.S. competition, Effie Collegiate, now in its 10th year, tasks students with creating marketing communications solutions to address business challenges for real clients.

This year, students Olivia Dado, Molly O’Brien and Taylor Thrash earned recognition for their response to a prompt from IBM: To drive consumer relevancy for IBM by creatively leveraging The Weather Channel app as a public facing touchpoint. Wendy Wardell, associate lecturer in the School of Media and Journalism, advised the team.

Dado, O’Brien and Thrash were one of seven teams selected as semifinalists, and as part of this distinction, their work was evaluated by IBM judges.

“While they did excellent work, I think the thing that stuck out to me most about this entry is that it really mimicked how work happens in a professional setting,” Wardell said. “We work against deadlines, but nothing is set in stone until the moment it’s submitted. This team had a great idea, but they were changing how the tactics worked right up until the very last minute. As they developed the campaign, they’d discover a hole in their idea or in a tactic and they’d go back and adjust accordingly.”

The team’s campaign, Weather Wins, targeted tech-savvy Millennials and younger members of Gen X (ages 25-50). Through research, they found that most people view weather warnings as negative and sought to change the narrative. Their idea would make weather warnings a positive experience by integrating educational, interesting and fun facts about how weather impacts peoples’ lives. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the team had to adapt to working together remotely before submitting the final entry in mid-April.

“The last few days, they consistently went back to their research to level-set against it in their execution, they changed how their idea would come to life in different tactics and they rewrote their entry again and again and again,” Wardell said. “They really came together as a team and each person contributed in a variety of ways to ensure a great entry.”

Kent State has consistently earned national recognition in the Effie Collegiate competition. Students work on the competition as part of the course Advertising Practicum, taught by Wardell. In 2019 and 2016, teams earned second place nationwide for campaigns for Subaru and V8®+Energy, respectively. Kent State teams have placed among the top 10 in this challenge since they began competing in 2013.

POSTED: Thursday, July 16, 2020 - 11:23am
UPDATED: Monday, July 20, 2020 - 6:59pm