SMU Students Ace Visit Florida Ad Test

DALLAS A team of 18 Southern Methodist University students from the Temerlin Advertising Institute for Education and Research won first place at last week’s National Student Advertising Competition, the school said.

Held in Dallas, the NSAC was apart of the American Advertising Federation’s 2004 National Conference. Led by faculty adviser Peter Noble, the students created a $7 million advertising campaign for Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism board and this year’s competition sponsor.

Targeting families and those who use travel to strengthen togetherness, Visit Florida challenged more than 6,500 students on 210 campuses to develop innovative national marketing and communications concepts to inspire out-of-state residents to travel to Florida, the school said.

With a goal of increasing net leisure nights in paid lodging, the students’ “This is Florida” campaign featured silhouettes of group travelers either at the beach or on the golf course. The SMU team prepared a plan book of concepts and delivered a 20-minute oral presentation to the judges.

Copy in one ad reads, “Scout the best beach chairs. Play tag with the waves. Build a few castles. No dishes. No homework. No carpool. Just you and your kids collecting sand dollars and playing past sunset. With a thousand miles of Florida beaches, you’ll find a different adventure every time you visit. This is family. This is Florida.”

The SMU students competed in the finals against 15 other colleges and universities, the school said. Judges consisted of representatives from Visit Florida, its three advertising and marketing communications agencies and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For their first-place victory, the SMU students were awarded $3,500 and a free trip to Orlando in August, where they will be honored at several Visit Florida events.

SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute previously won the NSAC championship in 2002 on behalf of Banc of America Investment Services.