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Ad Team

Each year, a South Carolina student team faces a real client challenge and tough competitors from across the country. We call it Ad Team. The American Advertising Federation calls it the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). 

The competition provides a case study outlining a brand’s history and its current advertising situation. Then, go! Students research the brand and its competition, identify problems, analyze issues and dig for insights. Team members organize, execute and present a complete integrated communications campaign — from situation analysis to marketing strategy, ideas from creative strategy to execution, concepts for traditional and nontraditional media, sales promotions and public relations, a budget, and post-campaign analysis.

Mountains and months of work are culled to a 27-page plans book by late March. In April, ad teams around the country “pitch” their campaigns to a panel of judges in district challenges; 16 first-place winners move on to semi-finals and national presentations. 

The client for the 2017 competition is Tai Pei. This year’s campaign objective will be to develop a fully integrated marketing campaign for Tai Pei as it looks to grow household penetration. The team needs researchers, strategists, idea writers, videographers and art directors.

You don’t have to be a genius. All it takes is passion, commitment, drive and a little competitive spirit. 

Ad Team Benefits

  • Terrific experience in a real world ad agency setting
  • Participation in a nationally-renowned program
  • A great piece of work to impress prospective employers
  • Three hours of course credit
  • A better understanding of yourself, your skills, and how to work under pressure 
  • A trip to the district competition and chance to network with industry professional

Ad Team Drawbacks

  • Standards are high. Expectations are high.
  • The team meets outside of class to understand the case, conduct primary and secondary research as well as produce and finalize competition materials.
  • Only five students can be on the presentation team.
  • The workload exceeds that of an ordinary course.
  • Excellent time-management and communication skills are required — it can get INTENSE.

High risk/high reward. Remember, ad team students are those who get the best jobs after graduation.

When does the Ad Team meet?

Spring JOUR 518 (Brand Communications Practicum/Competition) will meet on Tuesday and Thursdays from 10:05 a.m. - 12:55 p.m.  Once the team is selected, additional meeting times will be set based on mutual availability — for the team as a whole, as well as for each "department." As deadlines approach, it may be necessary for extended meeting times. 

Ad Team Costs

The required Student Advertising Federation dues (unless you are already a paid member) are $80 per student. This is in addition to any tuition and fees related to the course. District competition requires participation conduct forms and may incur personal travel expenses. Specific details will be given to team participants in the spring semester.


The application deadline is Nov. 9 for the Spring 2017 Ad Team. Apply here.