How a PR Girl Turned Mad Men For a Semester

On Friday the UNC-Chapel Hill National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) Team won the District 3 Regional Competition.

I am very proud to be a member of that team.

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In fact, all of the schools who competed should be proud of their accomplishments.  It takes a village to raise a child. It takes almost that much to create an outstanding advertising campaign.

But, if you’ve read my previous posts or looked at my portfolio, you might have noticed one thing: I’m not an advertising major. 

So, how did I end up on an advertising competition team, implicitly signing away my Tuesday and Thursday nights for an entire semester? Well like most decisions made by college students, it was made for one reason: A friend told me to.

One of my friends was on the team as a junior last year and was recruiting pretty much all of our J-school friends. In fact, I was visiting her in Ireland last year the weekend she found out she was going to be on the team, so I was already aware of what NSAC was.

And so when she mentioned applying to the team, it sounded like a good idea. It certainly wasn’t the craziest thing I’ve been peer-pressured to do.

Working in communications no longer means only knowing how to do one thing or the other. Most agencies are becoming integrated or at the very least you work together with your client’s ad agency on some campaigns.

And coming off my internship at Ogilvy PR where I had worked with my intern team to build a campaign from scratch, I was excited at the prospect of getting to build another campaign for a real client.

Knowing very little about media planning and knowing I would be competing with creatives way out of my league, I happily applied to do research. I’m fairly confident my enthusiasm for joining the research team is why I made it onto the team. For the application question “Why should we pick you?” I literally responded “Because research actually is my first choice.”

That was way back in October. It’s now April, and we’re the District champs. 

It’s been a long journey. There were definitely times when I felt like a fish out of water, being one of only three students on the team who weren’t advertising majors. “Fake it until you make it,” applied.

In the end though I’m glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Even if we hadn’t won, the experience would’ve been worth it.

I’ve learned so much about the other areas of advertising. I’ve been able to expand my research expertise. I’ve spent more time in Carroll Hall than I have for any other class.

But most importantly I’ve made friends with people I probably would not have met otherwise.

Up next are semi-finals. After that?

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VEGASSSSSS!

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