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UI/UX Problem Solver
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National Student Advertising Competition 2020

I was chosen to represent The Modern College of Design, along with 21 other students, at the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). We took first place in AAF District Five, and competed nationally. As Content Director, I was responsible for leading, guiding, developing, and elevating the written communication for the entire campaign. I created the content structure, content hierarchy, and I developed a plan for effectively communicating our solution to the client/judges panel. I worked closely with the Creative Director, Art Director, and Marketing Director to ensure that messaging is on brand and on target. As a designer, I helped visualize the story and concept.

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Adobe's Adtech Problem

Adobe tasked the NSAC teams with an enormous problem: to raise awareness of Adobe as the leading, independent ad tech provider with a B2B integrated marketing campaign. We were presented with a 36-page creative brief, stacked with marketing data: target personas/buyer's journey, competitive landscape, branding guidelines, etc. Everyone knows Adobe as the leader in creative, and they have spent years developing a trusted brand.

After many rounds of industry professional interviews, surveys, focus groups, and secondary research (pictured above), we determined the main problem: Adobe’s perception as a trustworthy industry leader has not yet extended to Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising. Adobe must connect the dots between their brand and the advertising industry in order to meet their goal of increasing advertising business by 25 percent from new business targets by September 2021.

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How Do We Solve Such a Large Problem?

It was overwhelming to be confronted with such a big task, from a brand we all respected so deeply, and interacted with daily. At the time, we did not even know adtech existed. This meant we needed to do a deep dive into that world and discover what makes that market audience tick. We determined the best way to tackle this problem would be to continually compare our solutions to the four main objectives shown above, to ensure every decision we made would cause a positive impact.

Our team spent nearly a month developing a concept. We would brainstorm/brainwrite in small groups, present our ideas to focus groups of industry professionals, empathy map, and repeat. This process helped us realize we were not focusing on Adobe's unique selling points: empowering brands to deliver connected advertising experiences; the tools: various demand–side platforms and powerful audience management and analytics platforms; and data-use: client information will always be proprietary. Once refocused, we developed our winning concept.

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A Four-Phrase Strategy

The Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising “Experience: Build it. Own it.” campaign will move through four phases. The goal of the phases is to highlight each of the key benefits of Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising using personalized messaging for the target personas. This campaign kicks off by building anticipation and aims to generate an earned media boom at the start of the campaign, starting personas on their Adobe–awareness journey. Utilizing industry influences alongside other advertising will continue generating media that drives viewers to the website for exclusive content and Adobe Summit offers.


Phase I will target all personas, while Phases II–IV prioritize specific personas in order to most effectively deliver the message of that phase. Each phase will end with an exclusive content offer featuring brand advocates who have successfully used Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising and messaging that aligns with the goal of the current phase. Goals: generate leads and encourage viewers to continue interacting within the next phase.The final push of the campaign will feature each of the brand advocates who supported Adobe throughout the campaign with an exclusive Adobe Summit Q&A breakfast focusing on Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising, as well as other fun and informative experiences.

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Phase I: "We've Been Building Something"

Phase I messaging intends to build anticipation for what appears to be a new Adobe product reveal but is actually a trustworthy advertising solution developed over the years. This will pique interest, act as an introductory stage for Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising, and prepare the personas for a deeper dive into the software.

We start with stark white digital/print ads, contrasting with Adobe's normal brand, stating "We've been building something.." This will transition into a name reveal and a city takeover with a 5-mile radius, centering the Boston Martech conference (a conference attended by our competitors Google and Facebook) in October. This contrast will generate the earned media boom Adobe is looking for to kick off the “Experience: Build it. Own it.” campaign. The messaging and ad placement in this phase will target each of the personas equally. The content offer of Phase I is an Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising overview webinar and recap PDF featuring a brand advocate from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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Phase II: "The Experience"

Phase II messaging highlights the experience clients can have with Adobe: integration between creative, marketing, and advertising; internal connectivity; and support from Adobe. This phase also represents the experience that clients can give to their customers through omnichannel marketing.

Product benefits highlighted in this phase include: how data-driven advertising connects the dots with viewers, integration with other Adobe programs, omnichannel advertising, and Adobe’s commitment to creating advertising experiences. This phase will rely heavily on digital and print advertising to carry viewer engagement through the holiday season. Adobe will offer teams a free celebratory drink at Adobe Summit when they provide their email address and sign up for the Phase II “The Experience” webinar and use the provided code at check-out. This phase’s webinar and PDF recap will feature a brand advocate from Verizon Wireless. “Cheers! You are one step ahead of your competitors. Experience more at Adobe Summit with this free-drink promo code. Follow along with the campaign to build your Adobe Summit experience.”

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Phase III: "Build It"

Phase III industry-specific messaging educates on the benefits of Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising while equipping business targets to build their connected advertising experiences. This phrase emphasizes programmatic advertising, growing customer databases, managing customer segments, and using it all to make data–driven marketing decisions.

Every one of Adobe's clients is a unique company with its own needs. This phase is targeted at gaining attention from decision makers and evaluators/practitioners. Adobe is a guide in the building and implementation process, and will not confuse their clients with adtech overload. Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising allows Adobe to build with the client and allows the client to build for themselves. Uber credits for the duration of the Adobe Summit will be offered as an incentive to sign up for the webinar offer of this phase. This phase’s webinar and PDF recap will feature a brand advocate from Home Depot.“Build your way to the Adobe Summit with these Uber credits. Let Adobe continue to enhance your experience by following our campaign.”

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Phase IV: "Own It"

Phase IV industry–specific messaging empowers all target personas to take control of their advertising with their own data and unbounded strategies. This phase discusses Adobe’s commitment to transparency, its position as an independent adtech provider, and the freedom businesses have with Adobe’s advertising solution.

Our research uncovered that there is a lot of concern from all of Adobe's target personas around data ownership. Messaging will focus on three key points: clients own data collected while using this product, they can take control of their data–driven campaigns through Adobe Analytics, and Adobe does not restrict their media buying like walled–garden competitors. Adobe will be targeting vision leaders at eTail and Affiliate Summit industry conferences, as well as decision makers and practitioner targets through advertisements and industry-specific “Own it” messaging. Phase IV ends with Adobe Summit, where guests who engaged with the “Experience: Build it. Own it.” campaign can redeem their promotional drinks, Uber rides, and complimentary Q&A breakfast with St. Jude, Verizon, and Home Depot as Adobe advocates.

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In The End

The “Experience: Build it. Own it.” integrated marketing campaign will generate market awareness of Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising by empowering business targets to take charge and breathe life into their brand experiences. By encouraging earned media, informing the right target audience with personalized messaging, driving viewers to the website, and convincing them to share their information with unique offers, this campaign will truly lift the Adobe Experience Cloud for Advertising story off the page and into the lives of Adobe’s target audience.


After developing this strategy, we developed a user awareness journey, a Gantt Chart representing our marketing timeline, a budget chart, a media overview, and a messaging overview. We created spreadsheets that detailed how every piece of our campaign linked back to the research that supported the decision. We also created an evaluation to show how we would hit every objective Adobe gave us. Lastly, we tested our concept with industry leaders. 100% of our reviewers stated they understood Adobe Experience Cloud better, and would be enticed to interact with this campaign.