Stop us if you’re heard this before. A team of five Muskie Business Management and Marketing majors took home top honors at the American Advertising Federation’s (Columbus Chapter) “The Pitch” competition. If this sounds familiar, that’s because a team of five Muskies also took home first place in last year’s prestigious event.
According to the AAF, in “The Pitch,” college students can get experience working on a real-world project with a local non-profit organization to highlight their talents to some of the best advertising agencies in Columbus. During this year’s virtual event, students presented ideas for the Lutheran Social Services Faith Mission, one of the largest homeless shelters in Columbus. Specifically, student teams were asked to develop a comprehensive outreach and education strategy to engage new and existing patients of The Health Center at Faith Mission in HIV prevention services using social media, traditional media, paid advertising, and other strategies to reach the target population.
The team from Muskingum – comprised of Alanah Williams ’20, Andrea Siders ’21, Oliva Lang ’21, Tanner Wirth ’22, and Jake Milner ’21 – developed a strategic campaign designed to target homeless residents of Columbus living in shelters or on the street; transitional housing residents; and anyone at risk of being homeless, or who has been homeless within the past two years. The campaign, “Claim Your Right to a Healthy Life,” featured several creative elements to effectively engage and raise awareness, including:
- Sidewalk stickers
- Benches & wallscapes
- Volunteer work to encourage participation
These tactics were delivered in a presentation that also included artwork, a three-month marketing calendar, and a campaign budget, the latter of which stood out to the client in the judging process.
“(The Muskingum University team’s) ideas were well-rounded and actionable, and I loved that they included a budget,” said Pam Georgiana, a representative for Lutheran Social Services. “Their ideas really utilized my budget strategically, and even when the budget is gone, there are aspects of the plan we can continue using."
Ms. Georgiana continued: “I think the face-to-face aspect of the plan was really insightful as many marketers overlook this tactic in favor of something ‘techie’ or flashy. When it comes to something as personal as knowing your status, a volunteer ambassador is a better approach. Also, I’m intrigued by the group’s sidewalk sticker idea as I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done before in Columbus.”
“This event is always a great test for our students as it attracts the best and brightest in our region, and this year’s event was even more challenging as the team navigated the process of creating a campaign remotely,” said Gary Golden, associate professor of Business and advisor for Muskingum’s Ignition Program. “This group definitely earned the win as their strategic thinking, creativity, and business acumen were on display throughout this process. Also, back-to-back winners has a nice ring to it.”
Way to go Muskies!
*To read about last year’s “The Pitch” winning team, please visit this link.