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High-profile ad campaigns win awards for PSU students

It hit Joe Bazeghi the first day he walked into the room: This wasn't class as usual.

Instead of sitting at a desk learning about what other people did to create an advertising campaign, his class would build one.

The client: the four-door Mini Cooper Countryman.

The incentive: real-world experience the undergraduates could put on a resume, and bragging rights to the college version of the advertising Oscars.

PSU's advertising program has earned national recognition before. In the past eight years, teams have won the regional student ad competition, gone to nationals four times and finished in the top 10 three times. Clients include the federal government, Heineken, J.C. Penney, Yahoo!, Coca-Cola and Cadillac.

For the Mini campaign, students picked the brains of consumers at the Portland International Car Show, developed social media to boost Mini culture and shot a TV ad at the Mini dealership in Portland. The campaign's battle cry: “I'm in.” (Rearrange the letters for the inspiration.)

The Mini team, led by Prof. Don Dickinson, is waiting to hear if it is a finalist in the second annual Collegiate Effie competition, based on the acclaimed Effie award for ad agencies. PSU won the competition last year for its Heineken public service campaign.

“I wanted more for my tuition dollar,” Bazeghi said. “And I got it.”