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St. Clair advertising class in the running to win international competition

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Zachary Dillon grew up playing sports and likes the winning feeling.

He is part of a team of students at St. Clair College in the running to win a worldwide digital marketing competition hosted by Purdue University.

“It’s pretty exciting.” Dillon said. “We submitted the video three weeks ago, the original video to see if we could get in the finals and we kind of forgot about it.”

The video was an eight-minute version of their campaign and landed them a spot in the final four with the University of Oklahoma, Villanova University and Illinois' Wheaton College.

“When we saw it we, all of us collectively all the faculty, we all went holy cow. Really, really good,” said Stephen McEachern, professor and coordinator of the Advertising and Marketing Communications program.

The goal of the competition is for teams to develop and pitch their digital marketing strategy for a product called Sole Search, tracking tags for kids’ shoes.

“First, we didn't really care for the name Sole Search. It had a lot of negative connotations to it,” said team member Sarah Rupert.

The group also didn't like the company's proposed partnership with big companies like Disney and Major League Baseball.

“We wanted to basically allow the company save money and not spend money on these really big licensing fees,” Rupert said.

Sole Search was focused on marketing to parents but the group went against the grain and created a campaign that caught the attention of the judges.

“We decided to develop something that would appeal to children so that we could incorporate them into the campaign as well,” said Dalton Drouillard.

Team captain Emma Carosella is proud the group took a chance with their campaign.

“I think that they really liked that we took a chance and did something a little bit different that other groups may have been a little bit scared to do,” Carosella said.

There are more ideas that didn’t appear in the original video the group is excited to present to the judges in the final Saturday which will be followed by a Q&A with judges afterwards.

“There’s a lot they haven’t heard yet that we’re really excited to tell them,” said Carosella. “We're gonna look at partnerships potentially and different programs that we're kinda giving a different perspective on.”

Dillon feels what’s left is strong and could get the team over the top.

“I feel I’ve grown as a person and gotten more ready for industry through this competition,” he said.

Drouillard added, “It's an amazing experience cause we're still in school.”  

The final will be available to watch online.

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