The University of Oklahoma, as well as 141 other universities, has taken steps to reverse binge-drinking occurrences by their students. Every year, the American Advertising Federation holds a National Student Advertising Competition for college advertising students. Companies such as AOL, Bank of America, Yahoo and Coca-Cola sponsor this competition. The company responsible for this year’s competition is “a leader in the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking,” according to the Century Council.
The purpose of this competition is for college students to research, plan and execute an advertising campaign for the sponsoring company. This year, the students are working to develop an advertising message which will effectively reduce the rate of binge drinking for both men and women between the ages of 18 and 24. Each of the 142 competing teams has compiled a strategy, which will both communicate the desired message, as well as affect behavior revolving around this hazardous situation.
The inadvertent sponsorship of this anti-binge drinking campaign is a fantastic opportunity for the participating universities. Having a team of students charged with the responsibility of communicating an unpopular message to a rebellious demographic allows the universities to learn directly from the students. The information these teams uncover will be beneficial not only for The Century Council’s pursuit to decrease binge drinking, but to the universities as well.
These National Student Advertising Competition teams are in a unique position. Their research, planning and execution of strategic anti-binge drinking messages give them the knowledge required to combat this growing problem. The Century Council asked members of the target audience to solve the problem, why don’t the colleges follow their lead? Listening to these students might just be the key to curing the binge-drinking epidemic on college campuses around the country.