Thursday, April 18, 2013

NSAC Final Thoughts

Last week, I finished a two-year journey with the Texas Tech Ad Team and the National Student Advertising Competition. For those of you who don't know, the NSAC is literally what it says. A national, student, advertising competition. Every school in the country is given the same client and asked to make an advertising campaign for it. I joined the team my junior year at Tech when the client was Nissan, and made the team again to advertise for Glidden.

The Ad Team at Texas Tech is a very special thing for me. It's hard to explain how much I have gained from my experiences and how much of my life I've devoted to this team for the past two years, but I'll try.

From the Nissan team, I gained so many wonderful friendships, like The Duds, and also with people who after a year of not seeing each other, we can all get together and have the best time. The year I worked on Nissan I was the Media Director, which was really the first time I was put into a position of power. The amount of confidence in my own abilities I gained from that year are astounding. Before Ad Team I had an idea of possibly what area of advertising I wanted to go in, but actually being on Ad Team reassured that idea.

My second round of Ad Team was so many things. Exciting, stressful, time-consuming, fun, brain-racking and every other emotion possible over the span of 8 months. This time I was the Account Executive, which means I was the leader of everyone on the team. Which meant I had to direct 17 other people to make a hopefully award winning campaign for Glidden. I was a nervous wreck. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to lead everyone successfully, and what if I failed them? I just wasn't sure of myself. Also, I didn't know more than half of the people on the team, and if you know anything about me it's that I'm very awkward around people I don't know. But, that didn't last too terribly long.

This team was filled with intelligent people who had brilliant ideas. Which was fantastic and frustrating throughout the year because we were always coming up with new ideas, but we would have a hard time settling on what we wanted. But, in hindsight, that wasn't a bad problem to have at all.

Once everything was put into our 20-page plans book, we headed off to Tulsa to show everyone what we came up with. We were one of the last teams to present, so we were able to see most of the other teams present. There were some that scared us, but overall we were still confident in our approach and were excited to let everyone see our ideas. Our presentation went flawlessly. Only two hiccups on lines that our speakers easily overcame, the slideshow went over perfectly, and the reaction from the crowd was phenomenal. Then, after a grueling question and answer session with the judges, we waited until they announced the results. Those few hours were the longest few hours I've ever experienced. Waiting and waiting for them to announce the top three teams was the worst. And it turned out that we won nothing. Not a single thing. No special judges award, not first or second place, not even third. It was heart-breaking.

I spent eight months putting everything I could into this campaign and at the time it seemed like I ended up empty-handed. The Texas Tech Ad Team is always a force to be reckoned with at NSAC. The team has at least placed the last 4-5 years. Being the one in charge, I felt like I had failed my advisers and Texas Tech, but most importantly my team.

The next 24 hours after we lost put some things into perspective though. We had so many of our peers come up to us and tell us how great we did, and how much they liked our campaign. That really meant a lot to us, because the people telling us this went through the same eight months of hardships we went through and knew exactly what we had dealt with. We had people come up to our advisor, people talk to us in the elevator, and even the winning team told us good job as the passed us on the interstate when we were heading back to Lubbock. What really made these remarks special was that they had no reason to tell us that we had done well besides the fact that they genuinely wanted to.

My team is great though. They all stood by every decision that was made throughout the year after we lost. They are all completely satisfied with the final campaign and didn't think that any part of it should have been changed. The fact that everyone was upset/enraged about us not placing showed that they had pride in what they worked on.

But, now that it's all over, life goes on. I'll be starting my actual job in a few weeks, while other people on the team are graduating with me, getting awesome internships in far off places, going to portfolio school, or a combination of those.

I honestly can't wait to see how much being on Ad Team helps me out in the future. Because I really think that I still will be learning from this experience many years down the road.

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