If you follow ICCIT council on Instagram and Facebook, you may have seen the vivid yellow, blue, and pink posts advertising a creative case competition.

The Creative Case Competition is a partnership between Bridgemark and the ICCIT Council that offers students an opportunity to showcase their skills to industry professionals with the chance of winning a cash prize as well as an interview for a summer internship with the Glenn Davis Group, Bridgemark’s parent company.

Participants designed a sub-brand for Radical Road Brewing Co. who are set to launch a new line of products for their younger consumers this spring. Students worked in teams of one to three to design the product for the 19-35 age range.

I sat down with the ICCIT Council’s VP External Off-Campus, Kate Pak to discuss the competition.

The competition stemmed from a previous graphic design competition and a newly formed relationship with the Davis agency, a sister company to Bridgemark, after the ICCIT Council organized a company tour in September. The council connected with the staff and eventually the idea was born.

Their graphic design competition focused on the design aspect of the industry, but with the case competition, the council aimed to arrange a more “intricate” media event that showcased the diversity of student ability. Bridgemark was excited to work with the ICCIT council to bring their vision to fruition.

The purpose of the competition is to “demonstrate the skills and abilities of CCIT and DEM students,” Pak says. Working with Bridgemark provides that opportunity since they are a branding/creative agency. The competition not only allows CCIT and DEM students to exhibit their graphic design skills, but it also proves that they have an understanding of the market and “the campaigning of it.”

Participants signed up and then submitted their designs along with a one-page market analysis by February 23. The analysis explains “why their product would be profitable and their reasons why there is opportunity in the market.” The creative case competition is a two-part event.

The first part is the social media voting process. The council posts the designs on their Facebook and Instagram page for users to vote. The vote is not restricted to UTM students, Pak says, “Anyone can vote by liking the photo [of the] design they think is best.” 

Then, the teams within the top percentage pitch their design in-person to Bridgemark. Their analysis can be used for the presentation for Bridgemark and while Bridgemark converses with them regarding their proposed product. The analysis serves as preparation for the big event and also gives the contestants an opportunity to explain their design decisions.

The prize advertised is a cash reward and “a chance at a summer internship.” One of the prizes is $100 cash “or a gift card” with an equal monetary value. While Pak acknowledges that “it is not a lot,” she says the real prize is the chance to be interviewed at Bridgemark for their summer internship.

Although Pak could not confirm whether it is a voluntary or paid internship, she emphasized the incredible opportunity an interview provides. In an interview, the winning team can get “their portfolios critiqued” as well as “get feedback from real industry professionals.”

Even if the participant does not land a summer internship, the experience “adds a lot of value to their careers, no matter what.” Additionally, the competition gives Bridgemark access to “a pool of qualified creative candidates,” thus the reward goes both ways.

This competition offers ICCIT students an opportunity to directly engage with a branding agency and receive feedback from experts. The experience of the competition, the in-person pitch, and interview offer invaluable knowledge to ICCIT students which makes the competition so attractive.

At the end of our meeting, I asked Pak what participants can take away from the competition.

She mentioned the opportunities available for creative students and addressed the common feeling that there isn’t a place for creatives, and counters that “there [are] millions of these creative industries” that offer a chance at a “full-fledged, successful career.” Although creative abilities sometimes get dismissed as hobbies, Pak argues that the hobbies can turn “into a career.”

For students who don’t think they match up, Pak reminds us that the ICCIT students are talented and that they “do have a place” in the creative industry.

The Facebook voting period lasts from February 24 to March 3. On March 5, the top candidates will be announced, then the candidates will give an in-person pitch at Bridgemark March 6, and the winner will be announced March 22.