National Student Advertising Competition

National Student Advertising Competition

This event will be held virtually in 2021

There is no better way to learn about the advertising campaign process than by actually developing a campaign for a real client. The NSAC provides that opportunity for hundreds of students every year.

AAF's National Student Advertising Competition is the nation's premier college advertising competition. It provides more than 3,000 college students with "real-world" experience by requiring a strategic advertising/marketing/media campaign for a corporate sponsor. Schools are selected to present their campaigns to a panel of industry executives at the AAF National Conference held in June.

How the NSAC Works

Each year, a corporate sponsor provides an assignment or case study outlining the history of its product and current advertising situation. The case study is always candid and reflects a real world situation. Students must research the product and its competition, identify potential problem areas and devise a completely integrated communications campaign for the client. Each student team then "pitches" its campaign to a panel of judges.

The Structure of the NSAC Competitions

Regional NSAC competitions are held each spring in 15 districts throughout the U.S. The winning team in each district and possible wild card team then advances to compete on the pre-national level prior the AAF National Conference in May.

The AAF is divided into 15 districts, each containing one to five states. Each district holds a competition in April and the winning team advances to a virtual elimination. From that contest there are eight teams selected as finalists to compete at the National Conference in May. Each district appoints its own coordinator, a local business professional, to handle all details of the local competition. Professionals in the communications industry conduct judging. Judges at the national level are selected from the client and their advertising agencies. Yearly, some districts will have as many as 18 teams competing and nationwide more than 150 colleges and universities take on the NSAC challenge.

The Education Services division and the AAF Academic Committee, a group of advertising educators and practitioners from across the country, who oversee the policies and procedures of the competitions, govern the competition. These members ensure that there is a level playing field and that the competition demonstrates the highest academic and professional standards.

AAF Education Services Program

1101 Vermont Avenue, Suite 500

Washington, DC 20005

Phone: 1-800-999-2231 | Fax: (202) 898-0159

2018 District 8 NSAC Coordinator

Bridget Deutz

Greeline Marketing

Meet Your 2019 Judges


Rusty Bills

Wienerschnitzel | VP of Operations

Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice.  Rusty has been in the restaurant business for 30 years. Worked in many capacities from busboy, server, bartender, manager, mulit-unit manager, Director and now VP of Operations for Wienerschnitzel. Just celebrated his 12th year with Galardi Group, Inc. He has a passion for implementing systems and procedures that ensure stronger profitability for our Franchisees. Rusty has been married for 21 years to his high school sweetheart, Staci, and they have two daughters, Natalie (13) and Norah (11). They live in Laguna Niguel, Ca.


Jordan Eakin

McKinney | Creative Director

Before landing at McKinney in early 2012, Jordan handled art direction and cross-channel integration on global accounts for Cadillac, HUMMER and Product(RED) and on national accounts for REI, TIAA-CREF and Stop Handgun Violence. During his time at McKinney he has lead campaigns for ESPN, Sherwin-Williams, Nationwide Insurance, Samsung and CarMax. His work has been recognized by the Art Directors Club, Clio, Archive, Effie, FWA, MIXX, Communication Arts, CMYK and Print. He attended the University of Kentucky, Murray State University and earned his Masters at the VCU Brandcenter in Richmond, Virginia.

He spent time as a guest speaker to VCU Brandcenter, Boston University, Emerson, NC State, University of North Carolina and Murray State University — his alma mater.


Marianne Gjerstad

Barkley | Group Engagement Director

Marianne has been heavily involved in AAF on the local, district and national levels, including serving as Chair of Ad 2 National, a member of the AAF National Council of Governors and AAF Board of Directors. At Barkley, Marianne oversees the Social Team and Fuel, their in-house content studio team. She's reinvented the way the agency approaches content, resulting in numerous award-winning campaigns. She ensures content is grounded in human insights, and breaks though the noise to make cultural or business impact. She's worked on a wide range of clients, including Hershey, Dairy Queen, Wingstop, Planet Fitness, Coleman and At Home. Prior to Barkley, Marianne led social efforts for Kellogg's, Gatorade and MillerCoors at VMLY&R. Marianne received her Bachelor of Journalism in strategic communication from the University of Missouri. When she's not at work, Marianne is likely traveling or planning her next adventure.

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