UA Student Ad Earns First-Place Award

Eller College of Management students received a $6,000 award in a national competition for producing a public service announcement emphasizing the need for cash donations during disaster relief efforts.
April 22, 2010
The winning public service announcement: UA students wanted to express the problem with donating irrelevant and unusable objects to survivors of natural disasters.
The winning public service announcement: UA students wanted to express the problem with donating irrelevant and unusable objects to survivors of natural disasters.

A team of University of Arizona students took first place in a competition to produce a public service announcement detailing the importance of cash donations during disaster relief efforts. 

The Eller College of Management team's advertisement, "Give Him What He Needs," won in the print category of the Public Service Announcements for International Disasters, or PSAid, nationwide competition.

"It's a great honor to not only win a national competition, but one that supports such a worthy cause," said Joshua Belhumeur, a UA senior studying marketing, who suggested the original concept.

"Winning this competition instills confidence in our own creative abilities and helps validate our chosen careers in marketing," he said.

The UA team received a $6,000 cash award, and the advertisement will be used in United States Agency for International Development, or USAid, promotions. 

The PSAid competition, now in its fifth year and sponsored by the Center for International Disaster Information, accepts print and video public service announcements from college and university students across the country.  

Ed Ackerley, an adjunct instructor who teaches marketing and media arts, encouraged students in his Marketing 425 class to enter the competition. It was the first time his students had participated in the PSAid contest.

"I like to give my students hands-on advertising experiences to help augment their academic learning," he said. "These competitions help them see advertising in action, which is very exciting."

In an e-mail message to Ackerley and the team, the PSAid coordinator wrote: "We had a record number of high quality submissions this year and the competition was stiff but our judges and the public chose your entry to as the most creative and impactful submission to help get across the 'Cash is Best' message."

Ackerley said people were drawn to the winning advertisement for its simplicity.

"The visual alone communicates a powerful message," he said. "Combined with an effective layout, good copy and art direction, the piece makes you want to figure out why the child is holding the turquoise shoe."

Belhumeur also said winning the award signifies the "quality" education he and his peers have received. 

"The Eller College has changed the way we approach problems and it showed through in the quality of work," he said. "We know we won because we communicated the organization's mission in the most effective manner and executed it with the highest quality we could."

Other team members are: Lauren Ruggeroli, a marketing senior and Honors College student; Kristen Schissel and Honors College student Aleena Astorga, both of whom are studying marketing and Spanish; Shannon Timms, an Honors College student studying marketing, business management and communication; Lindsey Erlick, an Honors College student studying marketing and mathematics; and Carmen Lamadrid, also an Honors College student who is studying marketing, entrepreneurship and Spanish.

"As a teacher, it's very rewarding to see my students excel in the marketplace," Ackerly said.

"These competitions are something they will always remember," he added. "As an alumus, I am glad our Wildcats can make such a formidable presence in the country. We can compete with any school."