Students Earn Praise for Advertising Campaign in National Competition

For the third year in a row, Kent State students have earned semi-finalist recognition in the national Effie Collegiate Brand Challenge.

Advertising majors Mikayla Bailey, Julia O’Laughlin and Madelyn Tomkos, and public relations major Morgan Cummings, earned the recognition for their work on a marketing/communications challenge for the headphones brand Bose. Effie Collegiate is modeled after the professional U.S. competition of the same name.

For the 2020-21 challenge, Bose and Effie Collegiate challenged the students to develop a comprehensive marketing campaign for the holiday season, focused on winning the 18-24-year-old audience. The Kent State students came up with a digital-driven charitable crowd-funding campaign, “Get Means Give,” designed to boost holiday sales of Bose products among Generation Z. As one of just five semi-finalist teams, their work was reviewed by the Bose brand team.

For the students, putting together a comprehensive campaign for a real client meant piecing together bits and pieces from Media and Journalism classes they’ve taken thus far: Case Studies, Research and Management, Digital Analytics and Advertising Strategy, among others.

“Our classes were more or less like puzzle pieces in my opinion,” Cummings said. “This class was just the class that would allow us to put all the puzzle pieces together.” 

It was challenging but rewarding work for the teammates.

“Developing a ‘big idea’ and a campaign for a well-known brand such as Bose was really challenging at first,” said O’Laughlin. “However, after our group really researched and interviewed people, learned how they interact with headphones, their buying habits around the holiday season, and some personal reservations they had about the brand, we gained insight on how we could make this campaign both meaningful for the consumer and for Bose.”

In the process, they learned a lot about real-world ad campaigns, including that when facing business challenges, solutions aren’t always obvious.

“The way we handled this project made me think of so many different things that need to be taken into consideration before creating a campaign,” Cummings said. “It's not simple. It's actually pretty hard since you have to cover everything with research and look at your campaign from so many different angles.”

Associate Lecturer Wendy Wardell advised the team and was particularly impressed with how strong the insight the team uncovered during research was.

“The way they leveraged their insight to drive interest and potential purchases is truly different — and really unexpected,” she said. “Not only did they deliver on the Bose challenge, they developed a campaign that overcomes the real barrier to purchase and leveraged a new media tactic to support their idea.”

 The Effie Collegiate competition partners with a different well-known brand each year. In 2020, Kent State students earned semi-finalist status for their work with IBM/The Weather Channel. In 2019, a team earned second place for their work with Subaru.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 12:23pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 1:40pm