Texas Tech University

Department of Advertising & Brand Strategy Hosted Student Advertising Competition

McKenzi Morris

November 7, 2019

Student Advertising Competition

Students from Lubbock colleges and universities put their skills to the test to create a campaign for a local client in one day.

College students from the Lubbock area came together to compete in the 2019 Hub City Student Advertising Competition on Nov. 1, where they developed and pitched a creative campaign for University Medical Center (UMC).

The one-day competition was hosted by the Texas Tech University Department of Advertising & Brand Strategy in the College of Media & Communication and spearheaded by James Hodgins, instructor and director of the Think Tank and The Outpost labs. He got the idea to start this competition because other departments in the college host similar events, and there is a one-day competition in Houston that Texas Tech advertising students go to each year.

Instead of sending students to Houston this year, he decided the college should create a competition in Lubbock where students from all the local colleges and universities could put their skills to the test in a professional, real-world setting.

"We can talk all day about how to develop a strategy, how to do a media plan, how to come up with designs and things like that," Hodgins said. "But when they actually apply it to a real client with a real problem, work with students from different areas and put it all together, it helps put it more into perspective as far as what it's actually going to be like once they get these jobs. I hope this competition gave them a better appreciation for what we're trying to teach them in the classroom, but also a little bit of outside experience as well."

Competition setup

The 56 students who participated in the competition had a variety of backgrounds in advertising, communication, media, marketing and design. The teams were created based on students' skill sets and classifications to make sure each group was well balanced.

The competition kicked off at the Texas Tech Innovation Hub at Research Park with the students meeting their teammates and receiving a client briefing from UMC's marketing team. Getting the chance to work with a real, local client made the students think more critically, but also made the competition feel like an actual job.

"You could put together a fictional company and it's exactly the way you want in a perfect world," said Glen Southard, a South Plains College graphic arts student. "But they gave us elements that we had to use, that we had to employ. Figuring out how to put those together in a creative way is what elevated our thought processes to the next level."

After the briefing, each team went to a different local agency for the day to work on their campaign. Hodgins said having the students work at local agencies was important because it gave them a chance to get advice from professionals as they worked, while also getting a small taste of what it will be like to work in an agency in the future.

After they spent the day creating the campaign, the teams returned to the Innovation Hub where they pitched their ideas to members of UMC's marketing team. After deliberations from the client, the winning team was announced, which included team members:

  • Caleb Dansby, digital media arts and marketing, Lubbock Christian University
  • Grace White, advertising, Texas Tech
  • Jonathan Cranfill, graphic design, Texas Tech
  • Josh Norwood, advertising, Texas Tech
  • Juan Simon Restropo, advertising, Texas Tech
  • Kaleb Hess, advertising, Texas Tech
  • Ryelee Wiek, graphic arts, South Plains College
  • Scott Sadler, advertising, Texas Tech

They received trophies at the dinner to wrap up the event, and Hodgins said the insights and ideas they came up with might help UMC with future marketing campaigns.

Making connections

Because there were students competing from multiple colleges and departments, the first time many of them met was the morning of the competition. For Texas Tech advertising student Ugonna Nwaoba, this was slightly intimidating at first. However, she said her team worked well together and she appreciated getting to work with new people.

Student ad competition
Students from Texas Tech and South Plains College work on their campaign during the Hub City Student Advertising Competition.

"I thought it was going to be really hard to get ideas out there," Nwaoba said. "But this competition taught me that I have the ability to work with someone even if I've never met them. It's a skill I didn't know I had."

These connections were part of why Delaney Moreno, a Texas Tech media strategies student, decided to participate in the first place. She wanted to expand her professional network, something her teammates agreed was a benefit of participating.

"Having those connections, you can always go back to them and ask for advice because they've gone through it, too," said Maria Cortez, a graphic arts student at South Plains College. "They may have a different point of view to offer you."

These connections were part of why Delaney Moreno, a Texas Tech media strategies student, decided to participate in the first place. She wanted to expand her professional network, something her teammates agreed was a benefit of participating.

Future competitions

Hodgins wants to make this an annual competition, eventually expanding it to include students from the entire South Plains and West Texas regions. As the competition grows and includes more students, he said he hopes they learn something about the advertising industry and themselves.

"Our No. 1 goal is the educational aspect of this," Hodgins said. "I hope the students learn how to put together a campaign, and also how to work with students from different areas because that's what they're going to have to do in the industry."

For the students who participated this year, that's exactly what they took from the competition. Even those not studying advertising said they benefited from working on a campaign with a real client in a collaborative setting because it helped them realize they have the skillsets necessary to do these jobs once they graduate.

"I was able to apply what I'm studying and put it into practical use," said Sarah Cardona, a Texas Tech advertising student. "I know it's not going to waste and I can actually apply it in the real world."