National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC)


For recent NSAC entries, visit our blog.

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.

Regional NSAC competitions are held each spring in 15 districts throughout the U.S. The winning team in each district then advances to compete on the national level at the AAF National Conference in June. Districts having 12 or more teams are granted a Wild Card Team.

The Structure of the NSAC Competition

The AAF is divided into 15 districts, each containing one to five states. Each district holds a competition in April. The winning team in each district and one wild card team then advances to compete on the national level at the AAF National Conference in June.

Professionals in the communications industry conduct judging for the district competition and judges at the national level are selected from the client and their advertising agencies. Year after year, some districts have as many as 22 teams competing. More than 150 colleges and universities take on the NSAC challenge each year on a national level.

The AAF Education Services department and the AAF Academic Division, comprised of a group of advertising educators and practitioners from across the country that oversees 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.

See the entries for this year’s competition here. For more information, contact the American Advertising Federation or Leslie Winthrop, District 2 NSAC Coordinator.

Leslie WinthropLeslie Winthrop, often times characterized as the “Madison Avenue Matchmaker,” joined the Advertising Agency Register (now AAR Partners) in 1980, to help launch the AAR concept in the United States. Noting that Leslie has personally conducted over 1,500 successful agency searches doesn’t begin to describe the breadth and depth of her knowledge. Since co-founding AAR North America in 1980, Leslie has counseled top executives in virtually every field and is dedicated to ensuring that each client-agency relationship is strong, successful, and long lasting.

Since 2005, she has gone one step further to support the agency’s new business department by co-founding a powerful new business resource tool, called Access Confidential, which has become the ‘go-to’ central intelligence hub for the new business executive.

Being dedicated to only the business world isn’t enough for Leslie. She has served as Chair of the Marketing Communications Group of the UJA Federation of New York, past President and Foundation Chair of The Advertising Club (of New York), past Governor and still serves on the Executive Member Committee of District 2/AAF, has sat on the Board of Directors of the University Settlement House, and has held a Corporate Seat on the National Board of Directors of the American Advertising Federation.

Leslie earned a BA in 1970 and an MBA in marketing in 1972 from Baruch College of the City University of New York. Leslie lives primarily in Manhattan with her two Teacup Yorkies, Cagney and Lacey, whom you can usually find in her office or by her side.