Colton Boyd, a recent graduate in advertising from Indianola, Iowa, and Lydia Wede, a senior in public relations and international studies from Oakland, Iowa, were named the winners of the 2021 Washington Media Scholars Media Plan Case Competition June 10.
Hosted by the Washington Media Scholars Foundation and presented by Katz Media, the national competition challenges students interested in public policy communication to think strategically as they work in pairs to present comprehensive media plans based on a hypothetical public policy issue using real, consumer-driven data.
Boyd and Wede made up Team Cardinal and Gold, one of six teams of finalists which also included students from University of South Carolina, UC Irvine, Carnegie Mellon University, Ithaca College, Penn State, Union University, West Texas A&M University, and Lamar University. As the top finishers, they each received a $5,000 scholarship from the organization.
The competition began in the fall and was completed in three rounds over the course of 10 months. The opportunity allowed Boyd and Wede to put the skills they learned in the classroom into action.
“My Greenlee training helped the most in the development of the plansbook. This plansbook is submitted to make it to the finalist round and is very influential in your success for the final presentation. After taking a Media Planning class, my confidence was high in the preparation of this project,” Boyd said.
“The Greenlee School provided me with a foundation of knowledge and collaborative skills that helped Colton and me to excel with each other. We were able to play off of each other’s strengths — Colton’s expertise in advertising and my work in public relations — to create the best plan holistically,” Wede said.
Leading up to the virtual final presentations, the finalists also participated in Media Scholars Week (held virtually June 7-10) as they learned from experts at top firms, including Katz Media, TEGNA/Premion, Resonate, Gray TV, Spotify GMMB, The Wall Street Journal, Hulu, Resonate, Google, Centro and many more.
“My favorite session was the speed networking session. In these smaller groups, we were given the opportunity to get to know the advertising and sales executives and ask personalized questions. The representatives gave us great tips on networking and breaking into the industry that I am already utilizing,” Wede said.
Teams comprised of Greenlee School students have made it to the final round of the competition in six of the last seven years. Jay Newell, associate director and a Greenlee professor in advertising, advises Iowa State students participating in the competition. He connected Boyd and Wede with past Iowa State finalists and local advertising professionals from Iowa advertising agencies Meyocks Group and ZLR Ignition who offered advice on presenting in a virtual format.
“The judges were impressed by Lydia and Colton’s strategic approach to the public communication question,” Newell said. “They used the tools of advertising and public relations to make their recommendations, and justified their proposals with a sophisticated analysis of the data. They then presented their ideas in a plansbook that was called “standout” and “agency-esque” by the judges.”
This summer, Wede is doing two internships — one in digital marketing and another in communications and public relations — in San Diego. She aspires to work in strategic communications after she graduates in 2022. Boyd graduated in May 2021, and is completing his internship at an advertising agency in Des Moines. He hopes to land a media planning position at an agency or in advertising sales.
Alongside the presentation of awards, the Mia Guion Memorial Scholarships were awarded to Union University’s Leah Busler and Danielle Popson in the amount of $2,500 each. This scholarship — which was given to the students who demonstrated preparation, participation, professionalism and presentation skills throughout Media Scholars Week — was established in memory of the late Mia Guion, a 2017 Iowa State University advertising graduate and a member of Iowa State’s 2017 first-place team in the competition.