Undergrads Win Regional Marketing Competition

For the first time in four years, Imagical, the Haas-sponsored chapter of the American Advertising Federation, has won the West Coast regional finals of the National Student Advertising Competition.

The chapter's 36 members will travel to the nationals, provided they can raise the funds to do so.

The team beat out six other schools at the qualifying competition in Berkeley April 15 with an innovative public service campaign, “Call the Shots,” to help decrease binge drinking on college campuses.

“Most schools told people directly ‘Don’t binge drink.’ We used the drinker’s friends,” says Esther Hwang, BS 09, the organization’s creative coordinator. “In the spirit of the 'friends don’t let their friends drive drunk' campaign, we told them when you see a friend overdrinking alcohol, you’re going to be the one who calls the shots.”

Imagical spent the entire year creating the campaign, which uses a variety of media from bus shelter hologram ads and email newsletters to viral videos. To prepare, they studied the effectiveness of three binge drinking campaigns (B4U Drink, Alcohol 101 and That Guy), surveyed 1200 college students at 84 campuses, and conducted 150 in-depth interviews.

This year’s competition sponsor is the Century Council, a national nonprofit funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. The finals will take place at the American Advertising Federation’s national conference June 4 to June 6 in Washington, DC.

With less than one month to go, Imagical is campaigning for funds to attend the competition. The team needs about $7,000, but has only raised $2,000, mostly from local businesses, faculty, and the school community. Hwang says it’s a good investment.

“For Haas to be represented at the nationals would be really great,” says Hwang. It should also pay personal dividends. “There are a lot of corporate sponsors, like Pepsi, who come not just to watch the competition but to recruit as well.”

For more information or to donate to the team, email Esther Hwang at [email protected] or chapter President Erica Pang at [email protected].