Developing Fresh Ideas on Pizza

April 29, 2015

NSAC Simmons Presentation Team

Simmons' creative pitch, "An App for your Appetite," wins third place in regional National Student Advertising Competition.

There were a lot of hungry people in the Linda K. Paresky Center on April 10th, ready to order pizza, as eight college teams competed in the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) regional event. Why pizza?  The student teams were presenting integrated marketing campaigns to help Pizza Hut increase online ordering. 

Each year, the American Advertising Federation (AAF) partners with a major corporate client that provides a case study outlining the company’s campaign objective, the history of its product and its current advertising situation.  The teams conduct research, develop strategies and submit a professional-level plans book, which outlines their research and all the elements of their approach. In April, the teams presented 20-minute live pitches to advertising professionals, who act as judges.

The Simmons team, “the 203 Agency” (each team was given a number to remain anonymous during the competition), got an enthusiastic response from the audience and the judges on their creative pitch, “An App for your Appetite,” and won third place!  This is the highest placement since Simmons began competing in NSAC five years ago.

An App for your Appetite Mobile AppThe team of 19 students worked on the NSAC challenge as a central element of the Strategic Marketing Communication course, taught by Professor Jo O’Connor in the Department of Communication (COM)/School of Management (SOM). The NSAC challenge creates a lab setting that requires the students to apply the strategic marketing concepts they are learning in class. The team also benefitted from mentoring by COM's Associate Professor of Broadcasting Len Mailloux, SOM's Undergraduate Librarian Jen Ferguson and SOM's Associate Professor of Marketing Edward Vieira, who has been involved with the competition for a number of years.  

“Our Simmons Sharks really delivered a comprehensive, creative and dynamic package.  None of the team had ever participated in the competition before – so we were delighted to take the bronze, “ said Professor O’Connor.

The team’s strategy took a multi-faceted approach to eliminate what they found as a lack of awareness around online ordering.  They creatively pursued ideas across a variety of channels.  The website was improved to promote the idea of freshness and make online ordering more prominent and accessible. An enhanced mobile app included a “hut-tracker” to track the pizza. TV and radio spot highlighted the ease of ordering and their YouTube spot brought in NFL star Aaron Rodgers as a spokesman. The presentation was based on strong research, fun and engaging ideas, and was truly memorable.

Professor Vieira commented that involvement in such a competition provides Simmons students with a number of benefits:

  • Students collaborate and develop a communication campaign for a real client under real conditions and up against intense competition. They do this in a safe and educational environment under the guidance of expert faculty.
  • Students have the opportunity to develop and hone their critical thinking skills. This competition is different every year with a new client who has similar but unique and different requirements—like the real world. 
  • Through this experience, students have the opportunity to assess if a career in advertising interests them.
  • Students develop an item, the plans book, to be included in their portfolio, which represents a demonstrative competency. 
  • Placing in the competition is a resume line item, which certainly gives students a competitive edge by standing out as a unique achievement.

Congratulations to the Simmons 2015 NSAC team!

NSAC Simmons 2015 Team

L-R front row: Holly Ledoux, Ainslee Gibbs, Elizabeth Rea-Wilson, Chanel Thomas, Lauren Contic

L-R back row: Sixx Lismann, Shae Riley, Nicole Allen, Rachel Otero, Maria Cervantes Gonzalez, Lyndlee Hayes, Anna Rausa, Tori Wenzel

Main photo (top): Simmons NSAC 2015 Presentation Team L-R: Lyndlee Hayes, Becca Ruesch, Rachel Otero, Shae Riley and Maria Cervantes Gonzalez.