CSU, Chico News

Marketing and Design Students Produce Campaign to Encourage Healthy Drinking Behavior

Date: 04-23-2009

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Bill McGowan
Department of Marketing

In an impressive display of creativity, talent and cooperation, CSU, Chico marketing and graphic design/media arts students put together a marketing strategy to encourage healthy drinking behavior that garnered second place at the district level of a national advertising competition.

The American Advertising Federation – National Student Advertising Competition (AAF-NSAC) for District 14 was held Friday, April 17, at UC Berkeley. Bill McGowan, faculty advisor/professor for Marketing 480, Advertising Campaign Competition, and Alan Rellaford, advisor/professor for Communication Design 433, Advertising Workshop, accompanied the 27-member team to Berkeley.

The advertising challenge, presented by The Century Council (TCC) to 180 participating universities, was to address the social issue of binge drinking in a way that would promote positive behavior change in college students in an environment where there is a culture of drinking. The students were asked to develop an integrated communications campaign where each one of the components could be implemented independently, if needed, and still be effective.

Beginning in fall 2008, the marketing and design students collaborated on ideas, research, strategies and design for the 32-page advertising plan that they produced. “Some design students helped with research, and some marketing students contributed creative ideas,” said Rellaford. “It was an integrated effort, although each class had its specialty, of course.”

The CSU, Chico team’s plan book included a mission statement, executive summary, research, strategy and a $10-million media plan. The team’s organizing idea was a takeoff on the blood alcohol content chart called Being Aware Counts (BAC). Their research supported the idea that the target group of 18- to 22-year–olds do not necessarily believe that binge drinking is a problem and do not respond to fear tactics or authoritarian messages. Instead, they need the information necessary to make their own informed decisions.

The purpose of the Being Aware Counts campaign is to ensure students pay attention to information about the number of drinks that are dangerous. Connecting the information about blood alcohol content to the BAC message puts the power to establish individual healthy drinking behaviors in their hands.

The 32-page plan was sent to five judges, four from advertising agencies in the Bay Area and one judge from TCC, to be judged prior to the April 17 competition. A five-member student team, Dana Krangel, Lauren Bly, Chris Revay, Erica Ashling and Becki Lee, made a 20-minute presentation at the competition and were judged on the creativity, research, positioning, targeting, media plan, integration of communication tools and general quality of the presentation.

In a very close competition, according to the judges, the Chico team placed second to UC Berkeley. The University of Nevada, Reno placed third. Fresno State, San Francisco State and San Jose State were the other district competitors.

The marketing students on the team were Eric Ashling, Nicole DeCroix, Dana Krangel, Tara Johnson, Brooke Biord, Lauren Kaufman, Christine Amorose, Lauren Bly, James Wojcik, Morgan Buzdon, Chris Revay, Becki Lee, Susan Crouch, Ali Liebig, Cristina Huson, Logan Mayville and Tyler Jordan. The graphic design and media arts students were Brenna Gilschinski, Ryan Muta, Kaytee Taylor, Rachel Nelson, Ryan Stokes, Gretchen Heller, Gina Moroni, Devin Nord, Nick Hudson and Isa Arguello.

“As hard as it was to come so close and not to win first place in the competition, sometimes the journey is more important than the destination,” said McGowan. “Alan and I have talked about how our students have developed into strong and confident individuals ready to take on the challenges of the outside world. The unquantifiable benefit of the BAC campaign is the number of lives it has touched already.”

The students and advisors are talking with Shauna Quinn, director of CADEC (Campus Alcohol/Drug Education Center) about how the center can use parts of the campaign in its alcohol and drug awareness program this coming fall. Quinn was consulted in the research phase of the project and has seen the final campaign.

The media and the public are invited to an encore performance of the presentation on Thursday, May 7 at 5:30 p.m. in PAC 134. For more information, call McGowan at 530-898-4182.