St. Clair students compete—and win – digital marketing competition

Kenneth Pastushyn
By Kenneth Pastushyn December 8, 2023 13:07

St. Clair students compete—and win – digital marketing competition

by Ken Pashtushyn

St. Clair College advertising students Emma Carosella, Sara Rupert, Dalton Droillard and Zach Dillon watch as Brianna DeMarco provides technical support in preparation for the Digital Marketing Competition inside the MediaPlex newsroom on Saturday, December 2, 2023. Photo by Ken Pastushyn.

A panel of St. Clair College’s third year advertising students participated in – and won – the Digital Marketing Competition and Summit which was held online. 

The event was hosted by Purdue University last Saturday. 

The panel of four included team leader Emma Carosella, Dalton Douillard, Sara Rupert and Zack Dillon. 

All of them made their pitches in a presentation answered questions via a Zoom meeting inside the St. Clair College MediaPlex newsroom.  

“How we delivered it was kind of perfect and the judges really liked it,” said team member Zach Dillen. 

The judges marked the students on their research findings as well as the owned strategy from websites and social media platforms. 

Also, the judges marked them on their paid placement advertising strategies along with scheduling, budgeting and data evaluation methodology. 

It all started in October when 271 participating international colleges and universities were given a case study and asked to come up with an ad campaign. The team from St. Clair submitted a proposal and in mid-November, they celebrated when they found out that they reached the semi-final stage along with Wheaton (Illinois) College, Oklahoma State University and Villanova University. 

 The celebration was short-lived, and it was back to the drawing board with a new project for the “final four” competition. A lot of behind-the-scenes technical support was provided by teammates Brianna DeMarco, Brian Connel and Lariza Mendoza. 

In addition to the workload in the classroom and part-time jobs, the students managed to find time to work together on this project under the instruction of advertising professor Scott Briscoe, often pulling “all-nighters.” 

“We were ecstatic, Professor Briscoe and we were just over the top,” said Steve McEachern, the head of St. Clair’s marketing department, when everyone heard the announcement of the winning of the Digital Marketing Competition. “Scott put in a lot of extra hours on this project, the students put in a ton of hours on this project.” 

Indeed, the students did do their homework and it showed early in the competition. 

St. Clair College advertising students Dalton Drouillard and Sara Rupertare listening to advice on presentation skills prior to participating in the online Digital Skills Marketing Competition and Summit inside the MediaPlex newsroom on Saturday, December 2, 2023. Photo by Ken Pastushyn.

During the celebration of the announcement of the winning team, Professor McEachern said he felt like a “proud poppa.” Back at the MediaPlex, Briscoe was nervous as he paced like an expectant father after the presentation awaiting the question-and-answer period. 

Professor Briscoe felt his team answered the judges’ questions clearly and there was no need for any follow-ups. Professor McEachern agreed as he watched the rest of the competition online with Briscoe and the team inside one of the showrooms inside the St. Clair College Centre for the Arts. Many of the team’s classmates were also there to show moral support. 

They were also there to look for and learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the three remaining competitors who had yet to make their presentations. 

There were also secondary awards presented at the competition. Texas Tech University received an engagement award for having 30 teams representing the school. Oklahoma State was given an award for the presentation that stood out. The judges said the “person on the screen just ran with it.” Villanova was given an award for all their innovative ideas that were within the budget. 

It was enough for the judges to award Villanova with a second-place finish. That was the moment when the St. Clair students and professors present at the Centre for the Arts, sensed victory. 

When the announcement was made everybody cheered. 

According to Professor McEachern, what differentiated St. Clair from other schools was a licensing agreement. Those other schools used existing characters to advertise a product and developed a marketing concept around them where they would have to pay licensing fees forever. The St. Clair students developed their own characters and advertising taglines saving potential clients a lot of money. 

“So really that was the big thing, that was how they blew it up,” said an excited Professor McEachern. “And nobody else did it.” 

Professor McEachern also told the students that it was a testament of everything he and Professor Briscoe taught in the classroom. 

“Winning this proved that we are ready for the industry,” said teammate Dillen, to a local CTV reporter in an after-competition interview. 

Kenneth Pastushyn
By Kenneth Pastushyn December 8, 2023 13:07

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