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St. Bonaventure’s AAF team takes first place in district advertising competition

May 09, 2023

St. Bonaventure University students won their district in a national advertising competition for the first time Friday in New York City.

AAF group Image The team, composed of students in an advertising course in the Jandoli School of Communication and a marketing course in the School of Business, spent months creating an advertising campaign to present last week before a panel of industry executives.

The American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition began in 1973 and St. Bonaventure students have been competing since the 1980s. The District 2 title by Kwerkworks – as the student ad agency is known – represents the school’s first win.

Known as the World Series of Advertising, the competition includes more than 2,000 college students who design strategic advertising and media campaigns for real corporate sponsors. This year’s client is Indeed, the job search website.

“The whole student agency worked consistently and hard the entire semester to get this thing together. As with all good advertising, our campaign told a truth. We took chances and the chances paid off,” said Mike Jones-Kelley, lecturer in the Jandoli School who advises the student ad agency with Dr. Liu Lu, assistant professor of marketing and Jones-Kelley’s counterpart in the School of Business.

For senior Deandre Allen, creating the campaign served as a perfect simulation for producing a campaign in the advertising industry.

trophy hands“Our whole class was laid out like a real advertising agency. We had a planning department, a media department, a social media department, an events department, and a creative department. As the agency’s account executive, I was able to oversee all these different departments and how they come together to make a campaign, a great one at that,” said Allen, a strategic communication major from Queens, New York.

He believes his experiences in AAF have prepared him and his peers well to enter the advertising industry.

“AAF has given us a leverage that other students won’t have going into an interview. As a bonus, we now have the ability to discuss our award-winning work,” he said.

The competition consists of 15 geographical regions. District champions advance to the semi-finals May 4 and 5, followed by the national championship June 3.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.