Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Advertising team advances to semifinals, places 1st


The University of Alabama’s Advertising Team took first place in the District 7 American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition Friday. This win marks the second district win in the last three years and the third district win in the last five.

The competition took place in Birmingham and involved teams from all over the Southeast. This win has propelled the team to the semifinals, where it will compete against 17 other schools. Of the 18 schools that reached the semifinals, eight will go on to the national competition.

Teri Henley, team advisor and instructor in the department of advertising and public relations, said she was thrilled when she heard her team won first place.

“The team worked really hard, and it was good to see all the hard work pay off,” Henley said. “Whether we won or not was not the main point. The main point was getting experience and learning, but winning was a cherry on top.”

Because the competition was only 45 minutes away in Birmingham, proximity brought a lot of support from friends and family.

“I loved this year’s win because it was so close to home,” Henley said. “We had family, friends, faculty and even recent students of the ad team came out to support us.”

Each team is given a client earlier in the year, and then each team comes up with a written document accompanied by a presentation. This year’s client was Mary Kay cosmetics, the target audience being 18- to 25-year-olds. The presentation is about 20 minutes, following a 10-minute Question–and–Answer session with the judges.

Katie Bontrager, a senior majoring in advertising, said Mary Kay was a fun but challenging client.

“People think Mary Kay is the makeup your grandmother wears, so the challenge for us was that the target audience was young adults,” Bontrager said. “We redefined Mary Kay’s image and made it appealing to all ages. Regardless of age, it really is some of the best makeup out.”

As the judges called out the third–, second– and first–place winners, Bontrager said she was nervous.

“When they started to announce third place, there was a sinking feeling in my stomach,” Bontrager said. “I was on the team last year as a junior, and we came in third place, so after he announced third and it was not us, we just felt a big relief. When we were announced as the first place winners, we had waterfalls running down our faces. It is the best moment I have had in college by far.”

Bontrager, a veteran of the ad team, is the account executive for this year’s campaign, serving as a captain of the team and the point person in solving any problems the team may encounter.

“As account executive, my job is basically to help make tough decisions on what’s in and out and to lead 16 students to work together as a whole,” Bontrager said. “To see all of my teammate’s faces when we won and having the satisfaction of winning something you have spent a lot of time on, there is no greater feeling.”

Myreete Wolford, a third-year team member and current president of the team, said this team is the best she has been on.

“I’ve never seen a team with more passion, drive and ability than this year,” Wolford. “Every one of our 17 team members were selected for a reason, and they definitely showed it this year. We won because our campaign was well thought out, without error, and that happened because our teammates stepped up.”

Henley agreed with Wolford and said she would put this team up against any she has ever advised.

Wolford said team members have put in more than 1,500 hours of work and that they hope to make the University proud in the next steps of competition. The team will be notified if they win the semifinals April 25. If they win, they will go on to the national competition, which will take place in Boca Raton, Fla.

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