Advertising Week 2008

Advertising Futures Contest Pairs Up Students, Agencies

Teams Created Campaigns Addressing Drop-Out Rates in Fifth-Annual Challenge

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NEW YORK ( -- Advertising's best and brightest took a backseat to advertising's future Wednesday afternoon at the New York Times Center. Several hundred students from 28 New York City public high schools assembled to present original marketing strategy mock-ups.

The challenge, presented by Adobe in conjunction with Advertising Week, paired the high-school teams with creative directors from professional agencies, such as BBDO, TBWA and Grey Global, over the course of two weeks.

The Advertising Futures competition, now in its fifth year, focuses on prevalent issues facing New York's minority students and requires them to come up with a campaign that addresses solutions to the problems. Past issues have included alcohol abuse, safe driving and the need for an adequate teacher force. This year's task addressed high-school drop-out rates -- a very real issue for many of the student participants. Teams were asked to create campaigns for, the Ad Council's drop-out-prevention website.

Used latest trends
Presentations leveraged the industry's current marketing and media trends, taking the form of everything from text-message cellphone campaigns to energy drinks to Wii games.

Competition winner William Cullen Bryant High School, with help from Avrett Free Ginsberg, laid out a detailed campaign that harnessed print, out-of-home and digital components, including social network and YouTube extensions. In a project titled "How Daisy Saved My Life," the school's students told the story of how a girl named Daisy simply talked with and took an interest in one of the team's members and convinced her to graduate.

Second- and third-place winners were I-tech Academy with Avenue A, and Queen's Vocational High School with Draft FCB, respectively.

William Cullen Bryant's winning print ad will appear in an upcoming issue of the New York Times and online through AOL.
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