Queen’s students win as ‘Canada’s Next Top Ad Execs’

As well as their new titles, Catherine Lee and Gregory Duggan from Queen's University are driving away in shiny new Mitsubishi Lancers from the corporate sponsor.

The challenge in the second year of the ‘Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec’ competition, sponsored by Mitsubishi Canada and the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, was to develop a campaign for the Mitsubishi brand with a focus on new media.

Queen’s students Catherine Lee and Gregory Duggan beat out 192 other contestants from 27 universities who competed this time around – nearly triple last year’s entrants. The students now have not only bragging rights, and probably a very bright future, but also brand new Mitsubishi Lancers.

In the final round of the competition, which involved ten teams, the duo had to present their marketing plans for Mitsubishi Motors to a panel of 14 marketing experts from industry and academia. Dr Nick Bontis, director of undergraduate programs at the DeGroote, who was one of the judges, said of the decision to name Catherine and Gregory as the winners: ‘They did the Wayne Gretzky thing. They went all the way, and looked at where the branding is today, as well as where the branding will be tomorrow.’

The competition, created by McMaster prof Mandeep Malik and run by a slick team of student volunteers, has landed the attention of key sponsors from the marketing and advertising world, interested in attracting and encouraging new talent and furthering a program that is bridging the gap between industry and academia.

An example of this bridge-building at work is the recruitment of Brock’s Renzo Mendoza, the second prize winner whose solo presentation wowed the jury with its creativity and his passionate pitchmanship. One of the Next Top Ad Exec judges, Infield Marketing’s Larry Futers (formerly of Mitsubishi), spontaneously offered the student a summer internship.