Advertising Students Take Agency Over Virtual Campaigns

Among most other clubs, Endicott College’s The Agency has been forced to fully transition to a completely digital format following new safety regulations on campus. The Agency describes themselves as “Endicott College’s award winning, student-run advertising agency”, and is advised by Endicott faculty Sara Allen, Melissa Yang, and Erin Hatch.

Though prepared for a virtual experience this semester, the Agency was previously whiplashed into an unexpected virtual world back in March. To make matters even worse, they were in the middle of a competition.

The Agency’s students compete with other schools and districts via a yearly competition known as NSAC (National Student Advertising Competition). NSAC’s website describes the competition as an opportunity for college students to gain “the real-world experience of creating a strategic advertising/marketing/media campaign for a corporate client.” Other schools that frequent the competition include: Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, and Roger Williams University.

2020’s competition, which concluded in April, enlisted Adobe as the client for which the schools would make their campaign for. Specifically, the goal of the campaign was to develop an integrated B2B (Business-to-business) plan for Adobe. Competitors were tasked with putting together a 21-page plansbook filled with campaign deliverables, as well as a 20 minutes presentation to a panel of industry judges.

2020’s panel including representatives from very notable companies such as Google and even a representative directly from Adobe’s team. Due to the extreme rise in COVID-19 concerns this previous spring, these presentations were instead held in a completely virtual environment. Despite this surprise obstacle,

The Agency was able to pull through with an effective campaign, as they managed to acquire Endicott a 2nd place position amongst the competition’s finalists; sandwiched between Roger Williams at 1st and Johnson & Wales at 3rd.

Not only was this Endicott’s first time placing 2nd, it is also their highest placement to date, proving that not even a pandemic can slow The Agency’s efforts. Endicott placed for the first time in 2018 at 3rd place, with Ocean Spray as their client. Previous campaigns include Wienerschnitzel, Tai Pei, and Snapple.

Much of the same crew has been on board since Ocean Spray, including Emily Schackart (Strategy Director), Laurynn Bedard (Research Director), and Alexis Rheisus (Presentation Director), who all joined The Agency as Freshmen and are currently on their 4th competing year with NSAC. Other Agency members include Taylor Wildrick (President, Creative Director) and Chase Andrews (Presenter).

Previously, meetings were in-person, which included lots of whiteboard usage and lively, social brainstorming sessions. Now, weekly meetings are (like the competition itself) completely virtual, making use of Zoom’s share screen feature and other tools to replicate the feeling of an in-person strategy meeting.

Strategy Director Emily Schackart reflected on 2020’s complicated competition and The Agency’s future, sharing, “Placing 2nd after transitioning to a remote structure was a really phenomenal achievement for our team. Endicott has never placed 2nd before in NSAC, and we didn't have any experience operating as a virtual team. I was really proud of my fellow teammates for pivoting with such short notice and on such a tight deadline and still putting out a quality, award-winning campaign for a tech client. It makes me feel confident in our ability to remain a remote team this semester and I can't wait to see what we end up with in April.”

2021’s NSAC client and the target of The Agency’s next campaign is Tinder! Though they’ve already demonstrated their ability to excel in a virtual environment, the Observer wishes them nothing but the best of luck in this year’s competition.