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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 24-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. (We’ve won the district competition 18 times.)

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
  • A great piece of work to show and experience to relay to a prospective
  • Participation in a nationally-renowned program
  • 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
  • If we win district, a trip to the national semi-final and national final.
  • Ad Team members are typically among our most successful graduates — and usually the first to land great jobs at competitive agencies.

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 four or 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 Monday and Wednesday from 3:55 p.m. -  5:10 p.m. followed by JOUR 598 (Directed Independent Studies) from 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 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 is $55. Join here»


The application deadline is Thursday, Oct. 27 for the Spring 2023 Ad Team.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.