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Students Impress at the World Series of Advertising

ALLEGANY, N.Y.-Members of the St. Bonaventure University chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), also known as the Stalwart Group, walked away from the National Student Advertising Competition in New York City with professional experience in the world of advertising and job offers from a major player within that world.

The Stalwart Group presented its national campaign for the 2006 client, Postal Vault, on May 5 and 6. Although the group did not win, it did receive high marks from recruiters at the competition, also known as the World Series of College Advertising.

Basil Valente, St. Bonaventure’s AAF adviser, said a representative from Ogilvy, a leading advertising agency in New York City, approached him after the competition to compliment the student presenters and offer them opportunities in his firm.

“This competition is not simply about the judges telling us we placed first. Rather it’s about the jobs offered to the students by major firms and the connections we make with people in the industry,” Basil said.

The presenters were tasked with the challenge of developing a combination of traditional and nontraditional forms of advertising to establish Postal Vault as the brand of choice when choosing to replace or install a mailbox.

Basil said recruiters were impressed with the students’ ability to deliver the non-traditional approach, through interactive marketing and media placement, as the client requested. They also commented on the group’s strong knowledge of the market.

Students do not have to be enrolled in a specific class to become involved with AAF. However, there are two electives, one offered by the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the other by the School of Business, in which students interested in competing in New York City can enroll and also earn credit.

Dr. Michael Russell, also an adviser of St. Bonaventure’s AAF chapter, said the organization attracts students of various backgrounds with a common interest in advertising.

“From the perspective of an adviser and teacher, it has been a delight to see students with different skill sets come together to create provocative advertising that is competitive with what can be found from professionals,” Russell said.

The Advertising Federation provides and promotes a better understanding of the functions of advertising and its values. Through advertising education, an AAF chapter stimulates and encourages advertising professionalism while also helping students to solve social problems and promoting fellowship. St. Bonaventure’s chapter plans field trips, hosts guest speakers, engages in pro-St. Bonaventure advertising campaigns, and raises funds to support the competition in New York City.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the AAF is divided into 15 national districts, each of which has anywhere from two to 35 college chapters. There are 210 chapters throughout the world. To form a chapter, a college or university must offer at least two courses in advertising or a related field and be accredited by a recognized regional accrediting association.