The Stupid Drink: Students win national advertising competition

by Jaime Winne Alvarez

June 9, 2009

"The Stupid Drink" campaign takes the prize

A team of five students from the Newhouse School placed first out of more than 140 institutions of higher education at the 2009 National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). Their winning campaign, “The Stupid Drink,” targeted binge drinking among college students.

The team is comprised of newly graduated seniors Erica Bruno of New York, N.Y. (formerly Shaker Heights, Ohio); Peter Ceran of Long Valley, N.J.; Greg Rozmus of Northport, N.Y.; Paul Savaiano of New York, N.Y. (formerly Glen Ellyn, Ill.); and Maria Sinopoli of Boston, Mass. (formerly Manlius, N.Y.). Faculty advisor is Ed Russell, assistant professor of advertising. 

According to Russell, the team’s campaign, “The Stupid Drink,” refers to “that drink between in control and out of control, the drink where judgment deteriorates and consumption accelerates.” The idea of the campaign is to try and speed the learning process of safe and responsible drinking by helping students identify and name their “Stupid Drink.” It might be a number, a type of liquor or a feeling they get when they are about to go too far.

Administered by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the NSAC is the nation’s premier student advertising competition. Each year, students create a campaign based on a case study for the competition’s sponsor. This year’s sponsor was The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.

This year’s competition was the first time that teams were asked to address a social issue to promote a positive behavioral change—the prevention of dangerous overconsumption of alcohol among college students, also known as “binge drinking.”

The Newhouse team was one of 18 to make it to the final round of the competition, where they presented to executives representing The Century Council, the Advertising Council and the American Council on Education (ACE), the major coordinating body for all of the nation's institutions of higher education. 

“My congratulations go out to Syracuse University,” says Ralph Blackman, president and CEO of The Century Council. “We were consistently impressed by the enthusiasm and creativity that all of the competitors brought to the competition."