April 22, 2011
Writer: Writer: Andy Cargal

What do you get when you take five Brigham Young University-Idaho students and a panel of jcpenney executives? A chance of a lifetime - and a glossy glass trophy.


That's what happened last week when students took top honors in the American Advertising Federation (AAF) District XI National Student Advertising Competition, granting them a spot among a handful of other universities at nationals June 2-3 in San Diego. This will be BYU-Idaho's first appearance at nationals, as well as its first-ever first-place finish at the district level.


"It's very rewarding to see our students win district and advance to nationals. We have some very talented students who have put in a tremendous amount of effort, and I hope this only helps build recognition for the quality of our educational programs," said Beth Hendricks, adviser for the BYU-Idaho AAF chapter.


jcpenney gave competition participants a single challenge: help the company better appeal to its target audience of 25-34-year-old females. Approximately 35 BYU-Idaho students have worked on the this campaign in phases since September, conducting research and developing a strategy, creative elements, messaging points, a media plan, and a system for measurement and evaluation.


Some key aspects of the team's innovative campaign include an interactive billboard/mirror that shows people how they would look in a new style, expanded social media marketing, and an employee finder feature that would allow shoppers to locate a store associate by texting a number.


"This experience has not only helped me build a worthwhile portfolio, but has also provided me opportunities to work as a team, network with professionals, and prepare for my future career," said Blake Jackson, student competition participant. "This has taken a lot of hard work-more hours than I can count-but it's been a wonderful experience."


The BYU-Idaho advertising team will present to another panel of jcpenney executives in June, where a national winner will be chosen.