Columbia Students Win Fourth Place and Best Plans Book Award at NSAC in Chicago

Columbia's student team rehearses their NSAC presentation at Manifest 2018. Photo: Phil Dembinski '08.

Columbia College Chicago Communication students took home the Best Plans Book award and won fourth place out of 140 teams in the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). The annual competition took place on Friday, June 8 at AAF’s annual conference ADMERICA in Chicago.

Columbia’s team created an innovative campaign utilizing original research, consumer insights, and creative executions to produce a plans book and presentation for this year’s sponsor, Ocean Spray. The campaign included pre-roll videos, an interactive Snapchat lens, experiential events, and out-of-the-box partnerships. The team was awarded fourth place overall and earned Best Plans Book award, which included a $1,500 prize sponsored by Simmons Research.

Columbia wins NSAC awardColumbia's student team poses after winning Best Plans Book at this year's NSAC. Photo: Peg Murphy.

“The recent success of our Communication students at NSAC speaks to the strength of our faculty, our program and our students,” said Dean of Columbia’s School of Media Arts Eric Freedman. “Our students represent the best of the power of collaborative enterprise and teamwork, and the importance of connecting critical thinking to industry analysis and audience insight. Columbia College Chicago occupies a unique place in the Chicago media ecosystem, and our Communication students continue to leverage the experience of learning and working in a major media market as they prepare for careers in new creative economies.”

Associate Professor of the Communication Department Peg Murphy worked with the student team throughout their creative and competitive process, which began in Fall 2017, from January 2018 on. “Competitions like AAF’s NSAC is so important to the future careers of these students,” said Murphy. “Many recruiters from top ad agencies and media firms attend the AAF competition and look for students who compete in NSAC. Fortunately, our students participate–and win big!”

Columbia student team members include:

Megan Baisden
Natalie Bowman
Tim Brutsman
Tori Gibbons
Lane Hedler
Emma Jensen
Jack Lakowske
Aliyah MacCrindle
Erica Martins
Jena Mosca
Shannel Rodriguez
Katie Shanahan
Maddie Stoiber
Sara Wolzczynska

“Congratulations to all of the students – in and outside of the class, including fellow Columbia undergrads from various departments including Cinema and Television Arts and Photography,” said Murphy. “And thank you to all of the Columbia faculty and staff who have helped these amazing young professionals throughout their academic career.”


Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,500 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit

Established in 1905, the American Advertising Federation (AAF), acts as the "Unifying Voice for Advertising." Its membership is comprised of nearly 100 corporate members made up of the nation’s leading advertisers, agencies, and media companies; a national network of nearly 200 local clubs representing 40,000 advertising professionals; and more than 200 college chapters with 5,000 student members. The AAF operates a host of programs and initiatives, including the Advertising Hall of Fame, the Advertising Hall of Achievement, the American Advertising Awards, the National Student Advertising Competition, the Mosaic Center for Multiculturalism and AdCamp for high school students. Follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.