AAF Takes Home First Place in District

AAF Takes Home First Place in District

(Provided/ Aryn Robinson). 

UCO’s American Advertising Federation made history on April 6 by placing first for the second consecutive year in the District 10 National Student Advertising Competition. This is the first time in 35 years that the same school has won consecutively.

“This is an immensely competitive situation. There are a lot of huge universities here that expect to win and they were hostile to our recognition,” Adviser Sandy Martin said. “We didn’t know if we would place.”

The class of 24 students developed an integrative marketing campaign for Tai Pei Frozen Foods to present at the conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Senior Strategic Communications Major Tommy Johnson was a first-time presenter at the competition.

“It was a lot more intense than I ever thought it would be, for sure. It is extremely competitive and very, very tough,” Johnson said.

Strategic Communications Major Alex Pak said the experience was a culture shock, as this is only his second semester as a communications major.

“It was a brand new challenge I never thought I would have to face, but I’m really, really glad I did,” Pak said. “I feel like I’ve grown so much. The team has grown so much and with the leadership of Sandy Martin. We really came together strong.”

The university is one of the smallest programs involved in the competition. Johnson said some universities work on their campaigns year-round and dedicate a large portion of time to it as part of their curriculum.

“The preference is kind of given towards some Texas schools sometimes,” Johnson said. “It’s really cool that we can come in here and prove to the judges that we can not only compete, but exceed expectations.”

The class’s Campaign Director Yusuf Shurbaji said the first place finish helps students and the university to stand out.

“I’m proud of the team and what we accomplished together. The victory highlights the excellence of students coming from UCO and taking home first place, for a second year in a row, truly puts the university on everyone’s radar,” Shurbaji said.

Four students from AAF also created the uDefy Project last semester for the Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism competition. This group placed second in the national competition in February.

Martin said the success of uDefy and of the AAF team proves the quality of UCO’s strategic communications program.

“It places us in a position to get some of the recognition that the quality of this program deserves,” Martin said.

The team will now advance to the semifinals in early May. Rather than present during the semifinals, the team will have a video conference call with the judges.

According to AAF’s national website, 16-20 teams could compete in the semifinals and 8 will advance to the national conference in New Orleans this summer.

District 10 is composed of southern schools and had so many competing institutions that it was divided into two groups. Martin said most districts have 8-9 competitors, while this district had 22.

In addition to UCO winning consecutive years, this is one of the first years that has seen two Oklahoma schools win the district. Oklahoma State University’s team placed first in their respective competition.


Twenty-four students participated in the American Advertising Federation Competition class:

Kaitlyn Britschgi, Ericka Brumley, Lauren Clay, Kyla Carter, Drew Cockrell, Kevin Gold, Tommy Johnson, Erica Kiesel, Tan Le, Maci McGregor, Alicia Merrick, Rachel Meyer, Ashley Neese, Alex Pak, Aryn Robinson, Cameryn Rose, Ashley Ross, Lorelei Ross, Kalen Russell, Jake Searock, Yusuf Shurbaji, Lauren Snodgrass, Alicesun Todd, Yeonhee Yoo

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