Students see Super Bowl ad opportunity

To college students who think they can make a Chevrolet outshine Burt Reynolds and GoDaddy.com on the nation's biggest advertising stage: Now's your chance.

The automaker announced the Chevy Super Bowl College Ad Challenge contest last week, inviting students to submit proposals for a 2007 Super Bowl ad.

The students who turn in the winning proposal will work with Chevrolet to produce the ad, which will be aired during the game.

"The Super Bowl is an American institution, and the commercials have become almost as big a tradition as the football," Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper said in a press release. "Who other than college students could breathe more fresh life into Super Bowl advertising?"

The ad will be aimed at the youth market as part of a Chevrolet effort to promote models targeted at young buyers, according to the press release.

Five teams of finalists will travel to Detroit to pitch their ads to Chevrolet and ad agency executives, who will pick a winner.

"We can't wait to see how the students respond to this real-world advertising challenge," Peper said in the release. "It's a fantastic opportunity for them and for us."

Jean Grow, assistant professor of advertising and public relations, said similar marketing efforts to reach out to young adults are common.

"Ad faculty receive frequent offers to produce ads for a brand that's targeting Generation Y," she said. "The big difference with this one is the Super Bowl."

Ads for last year's Super Bowl sold for more than $2.5 million for one 30-second spot, according to a January 2006 CNN.com article, a record sum that will likely increase again this year.

Around 90 million viewers watched last year's game, according to the article.

Grow said professional production "will polish up any rough edges" on student-conceived ads.

Viewer input and suggestions in ads are common practices today, according to Grow.

"Audiences more than ever before are in the driver's seat when it comes to advertising," she said.

By asking for student contributions to the ad campaign, Chevrolet "will have made a resonate connection with the target audience," she said. "It's a very good move for them."

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