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McIntire’s “Promotions” Team Advances to Finals in AAF’s National Student Advertising Competition

Under the leadership of Marketing Professor Carrie Heilman, the UVA team will face eight other finalist schools at the national level May 20.

students in Promotions class

On Thursday, May 7, McIntire’s “Promotions” class advanced its successful 2020 campaign in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC), with a strong showing in the semifinal competition.

Under the leadership of Marketing Professor Carrie Heilman, the UVA team outpaced the majority of 150 groups to win at the district level, allowing them to advance as one of 17 schools competing in the semifinal round. The announcement on May 7 identified the team as a top finisher at semifinals; the team will now face eight other finalist schools at the national level on May 20.

As COVID-19 has impacted the format of this year’s NSAC competition, all schools’ presentations will continue to be conducted online. As a result, Heilman notes that this year’s class has been remarkably resilient in the face of uncertainty and adversity, using the challenges brought about by the new situation to think creatively as they prepared for the semifinal round.

“I am so proud of the students in how they have handled this situation during this difficult time,” Heilman said. “I was equally thrilled by the outpouring of alumni who offered to participate in Zoom calls with the students as they prepared for semifinals. The alums watched the students’ 20-minute presentation and then spent time on Zoom asking the students questions about their campaign, similar to what the NSAC judges would do.  The rigor of their questions, but perhaps more importantly, their moral support during this challenging time, was invaluable in raising the students’ confidence about tackling the next hurdle they would face.”

McIntire Dean Carl Zeithaml was enthusiastic about the results of the “Promotions” class’s diligence and continued accomplishments.

In a note to students, he wrote, “Congratulations! On behalf of the entire McIntire School, we are so excited for you and proud of this phenomenal achievement. Making finals in normal circumstances is tremendous, but doing so with the challenges that you faced is truly extraordinary. I know that you devoted countless hours to this process while juggling everything else academically and in your lives.”

Heilman, a recent recipient of UVA’s All-University Teaching Award, has had previous success leading the McIntire class, with a national championship title in 2016 and a second-place finish in 2018.

According to the AAF, the NSAC is “the premier college advertising competition that provides more than 2,000 college students the real-world experience of creating a strategic advertising/marketing/media campaign for a corporate client.”

The winner of the competition will be announced at 11 a.m. on June 8.

Correction: May 21, 2020
An earlier version of this article has been corrected for factual accuracy.

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