National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC)

The National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) is an annual competition sponsored by the American Advertising Federation (AAF). Each year, a national corporate sponsor provides a case study outlining the history of its product and current advertising situation. The case study reflects a real world situation to challenge students' critical thinking abilities and creativity. 

Students teams from college advertising and marketing programs across the country research the product and its competition, identify potential problems and develop an integrated communications campaign for the client. Each team then "pitches" its campaign to a panel of judges. 

More than 150 colleges and universities take on the National Student Advertising Competition every year. Since its inception in 1973, more than 150,000 advertising professionals across the nation have jump-started their careers through the NSAC.

The 2014 NSAC Sponsor is Mary Kay.

On Saturday, April 5th, four teams (San Jose State, University of Nevada/Reno, University of California/Berkeley, and Fresno State) will compete to represent District 14 at the AAF National Conference in May in Boca Raton, Florida. The D-14 NSAC Competition will be held at Berkeley City College (2050 Center Street) from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

NSAC Structure

The AAF is divided into fifteen Districts across the country. Additionally, a sixteenth “virtual” district will be competing in 2014. Each district holds a regional competition in April. The winning team in each district, including the virtual district, and one wild card team then advances to compete on the national level at the AAF National Conference in May.

Judging is conducted by professionals in the communications industry. Judges at the national level are selected from the Sponsor client and their advertising agencies.

The competition is governed by the AAF Education Services department and the AAF Academic Division, a group of advertising educators and practitioners from across the country, who oversee the policies and procedures of the competitions. These members ensure that there is a level playing field and that the competition demonstrates the highest academic and professional standards.

Greater San Francisco Ad Club has been a continuing supporter of the local college and university teams in the Bay Area and Northern California (District 14). GSFAC has supplied airfare and accommodations funding for many teams from the very beginning of the competition.


2013: Glidden

First Place: University of Miami (District 4)
Second Place: Syracuse University (Wildcard winner)
Third Place: University of Virginia (District 3)

District 14 was represented by University of Nevada/Reno

2012: Nissan USA

First Place: University of Nebraska/Lincoln (District 9)

Second Place: University of Alabama (District 7)

Third Place: Johnson & Wales University (District 1)

District 14 was represented by University of California/Berkeley

2011: JCPenny

First Place: University of Miami (District 4)
Second Place: Ithaca College (District 2)
Third Place: Johnson & Wales University (District 1)
District 14 was represented by California State University/Chico

2009: The Century Council, in conjunction with the Ad Council and the American Council on Education (ACE)

First Place: Syracuse University (District 2)
Second Place: University of Alabama (District 7)
Third Place: University of California/Berkeley (District 14)

2008: AOL
First Place: Ohio University (District 5)
Second Place: Art Center Design College/Albuquerque (District 12)
Third Place: University of Virginia (District 3)
District 14 was represented by University of Nevada/Reno

Past National Champions from District 14

2003 University of Nevada/Reno (Toyota Motor Sales, USA)
1985 San Jose State University (Burger King)
1977 San Jose State University (Frito-Lay, Inc.)

To learn more about NSAC, visit


UC Berkeley's ImagiCal wins District 14 2009 National Student Advertising Competition


The UC-Berkeley ImagiCal presenters and most of the team traveled to Washington, D.C. to pick up third place in the 2009 NSAC.

The NSAC offered The Century Council the ability to gain insight from students on what would be an effective communications campaign to persuade the people they know best – their peers – to stop engaging in dangerous overconsumption of alcohol. Because The Century Council stands firm on its commitment to the 21 year old drinking law, we remain committed to providing students, parents, administrators and the entire campus community with the educational resources they need to fight alcohol abuse on campus. We appreciate the strong support of the Ad Council and ACE, and have been incredibly impressed by the passion and attitude the students have brought to this challenge. We congratulate all of the competition's participants and thank them for their hard work.
– Ralph Blackman, President & CEO of The Century Council

To visit ImagiCal, click here.
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