Thursday, June 21

Business school students emphasize the future for advertising contest

In reaction to the constant stream of advertisements flooding public space – whether it is a billboard hanging over the freeway or the narrow margins of a Facebook page – the UCLA Anderson School of Management has created a competition to encourage students to learn how to create memorable ads that leave a lasting impression.

The competition requires students to write, direct, produce and film a 60-second advertisement on the theme “Think in the Next,” which is also the name of the annual competition. In their ads, students give their interpretation of how Anderson gives them the skills to keep pace with the constantly changing business landscape, and why they enjoy being an Anderson student.

The competition, which is being offered for the fourth straight year, was created by Dylan Stafford, assistant dean of the Fully Employed MBA Program

This year will be the first time the ads are required to follow a specific theme, said Andrew Ainslie, the senior associate dean of the Full-time MBA Program. Stafford and Ainslie will serve as two of the competition’s twelve judges.

During the three previous years of the competition, then known as the All-Anderson Commercial Challenge, participants were asked to show what they believed Anderson stood for – a purposefully vague guideline to encourage a broad range of responses, Stafford said.

Since establishing the brand “Think in the Next” this year, however, the competition has shifted its focus to incorporate how students are preparing for their futures, among other aspects.

Ainslie said that, in addition to allowing students to gain hands-on experience in improving their marketing techniques, the competition will encourage students to work cooperatively with each other.

“(The competition) can help great people in the program to meet other great people at Anderson that normally wouldn’t meet because of scheduled conflicts,” Stafford said.

There were about nine teams registered for the competition by Wednesday, Ainslie said. According to the competition’s website, the deadline for group registration is Thursday. The submission deadline will be April 19.

The first-place commercial will win $2,000, with second- and third-places receiving $1,300 and $1,000 respectively, according to the competition’s website.

The panel of judges, which consists of Anderson faculty and staff, will base their decisions on creativity and how well the commercials embody the theme.

Prizes can be won in other categories as well, including “Most Viewed on the Internet.” Winners for categories like “Funniest” can also be decided through live text-message voting by the public on a variety of criteria.

Anderson will post the submitted ads onto its website for public viewing, Ainslie said.

Ainslie added that in an effort to encourage initiative and reflect student views, teams have complete freedom in their creative decisions, as long as their commercials embody the competition’s theme.

“They’re just doing this, they just grab a camera and film it,” Ainslie said. “People are just getting together and making ideas on a shoestring budget.”

David Duong, a graduate student in marketing, brand management and marketing consulting who participated in the competition, said he worked with two other Anderson students, all of whom are members of the UCLA Dance and Spirit Club, to create a parody mash-up of pop songs, coupled with a complicated dance routine. They rewrote the lyrics to the popular songs “Mr. Sandman” by the Chordettes and “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani to highlight the benefits of studying at Anderson.

Filmed on campus around the Anderson building with a camera borrowed from a friend, the video took more than 100 hours to create, Duong said.

“Little do people know, it’s an extremely long process just to film and edit a one-minute video,” Duong said. “You have to pick the theme of the video, pick your song, write the lyrics, mix the music, storyboard all the scenes and edit everything I just mentioned.”

Duong said he decided to participate in the competition to practice the skills he has learned in his marketing classes.

“(This competition) gives you the chance to really think outside of the box,” he said. “It also gives people a great opportunity to bond with their classmates through working on a project outside the scope of the classroom.”

Ainslie said the competition is likely to be offered again next year, centered around a similar theme.

Anderson will showcase the submitted advertisements on April 20 at Korn Convocation Hall.

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