Teams driven to success by competition

Three Western teams hope to drive away with a national campus competition’s top prize.

Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec targets university students across the country, challenging them to channel their inner Don Drapers. The competition is organized by commerce students from McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business.

Chevrolet Canada is the competition’s main sponsor. As such, an icon of the company stands at centre stage of the event – the 2014 Corvette Stingray. Student teams – of either one or two people – are challenged to create an “exciting and appealing national marketing campaign” promoting the vehicle for Chevrolet.

Six Western students, comprising three teams, are in the Top 10 of the competition and will compete in the final round on March 25 in Toronto. Western’s three teams led the way for all universities, followed by York with two teams, and then single teams from Alberta, McMaster, Royal Roads, Ryerson and Toronto.

Their presentations are under wraps until the final round, although the students offered a brief glimpse into their ideas.

The three Western teams include:

AD-exec1.jpg

Karen Yu and Xiaoya Xu

Karen Yu, a second-year Media, Information and Technoculture (MIT) student, teamed up with Xiaoya Xu, a second-year Economics, Political Science and Philosophy student, to come up with a campaign that, instead of focusing on the Corvette’s superior engineering as a sports car, will appeal to the emotional connection and partnership drivers have with the vehicle.

“We both didn’t know too much about cars – it’s just about looking at past campaigns and looking at what worked for other cars,” Yu said.

“We’re the only other all-girls team (of two). We went to an auto show; we talked to our male friends, because we’re not the demographic. It’s been exciting and a great experience,” Xu said.

AD-exec2.jpg

Trevor Young and Erika Tsang

Trevor Young, a fourth-year Ivey Business School student, and Erika Tsang, a second-year Ivey student, are working on a campaign that focuses on appealing to the Corvette brand’s rich history in North America “to inspire a new and exciting future for today’s drivers.” Their campaign will invite drivers to relive and create new memories, all centered on the Corvette.

AD-exec3.jpg

Michelle Yick and Kevin Xo

Michelle Yick, a second-year MIT student, and Kevin Xo, a second-year Medical Sciences student, are working on a campaign that aims to revitalize the Corvette and rebrand it today as the attainable dream car it once was, all the while targeting young professionals.

The winning team receives two 2014 1LT RS Chevrolet Camaros. The first runner-up receives $5,000 in scholarship money; second runner-up receives $3,000.

Members of the Top 25 teams are eligible for internships with some of the competition’s big brand sponsors, among them Chevrolet Canada, Canadian Tire, PepsiCo and McDonald’s. Past interns have earned full-time roles or completed four-month summer roles before going back to school.