Grand Valley students win big at advertising competition

Yardsticks competition at City Flats Ballroom
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Yardsticks competition at City Flats Ballroom
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About 50 students from area colleges got a jump start on their careers in advertising during an annual competition known as Yardsticks. Top 10 finalists in this year’s event, held October 23 at the City Flats Ballroom, included students from Grand Valley, Kendall, Calvin College, and Davenport.

Grand Valley students Luke Neuman, Alec Aja, Dillon Platto, Rachel Hurst, Allison Supron and Lauren Supron made up three of the four winning teams, along with one team from Kendall. All students were provided the same creative brief and charged with the task of developing and presenting advertising campaign concepts to seasoned professionals who served as judges.

This year’s client was Bagger Dave’s Legendary Burger Tavern. Those selected for the top 10 were given 90 seconds to pitch their concept to the audience, and from there the final four winners were chosen and awarded their yardstick-shaped trophies.

Winners will turn their concepts into an actual campaign for the client. They will work with Rebecca Raver, Bagger Dave’s vice president of marketing, and Yardsticks director Frank Blossom, affiliate professor in Grand Valley’s School of Communications, along with two other area creative directors. Last year’s Yardsticks winners recently launched their own collaborative campaign in the Chicago area for the competition’s 2012 client, Hello West Michigan. 

The competition, previously known as The Creative Smackdown, is now in its 13th year. Sponsored by the Polishing Center, it aims to provide students with constructive feedback from area professionals, an opportunity to build their portfolios, and the opportunity to network with others who are passionate about the creative field of advertising.

“This was the best and deepest batch of work I’ve seen at any of the Yardsticks I’ve attended,” said judge Clayton Boothe of Boothe Creative.

For more information on The Yardsticks, visit