Undergrads Place Third in National Marketing Contest

"Call the shots if you see a friend drinking" was the thrust of the campaign created by a Haas team of undergraduates who placed third in the national American Advertising Federation competition in Washington, DC, from June 4 to June 6.

Imagical, a Haas-sponsored chapter of the American Advertising Federation, was among 16 teams who made presentations at the final competition, which took place at the federation's national conference. Imagical lost to Syracuse University and the University of Alabama by the narrowest margins in the history of the competition — 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent respectively.

"This is also the best that Berkeley has done in over a decade in this competition," says Esther Hwang, BS 09, Imagical’s creative coordinator and one of 20 Berkeley students who traveled to Washington, DC, to compete. She noted that the Century Council, a national nonprofit funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, "loved our campaign."

The teams were challenged to come up with a campaign to decrease binge drinking on college campuses. While many campaigns addressed drinkers directly, Imagical targeted its message to drinkers' friends, Hwang says.

Imagical's "Call the Shots" campaign previously took first place in the Northwest Regional competition in May.

Imagical spent a year developing its multimedia campaign, which incorporated everything from bus shelter hologram ads to email newsletters to viral videos. To prepare, the team studied the effectiveness of three binge-drinking campaigns, surveyed 1,200 college students at 84 campuses, and conducted 150 in-depth interviews.

"Next year the team plans to recruit new talent and aims to take first place in the nationals," says Hwang. Students interested in joining the group can contact Imagical at [email protected].