Looking back at Yardsticks, 2012

As posted earlier, Yardsticks is an annual advertising competition which is organized by professor Frank Blossom. The competition is not exclusive to Grand Valley students; however, three of the four finalists at this year’s competition were GVSU students. Olga Sarayeva is a foreign exchange student and Austin Langlois and Courtney Petersen are advertising and public relations students, with emphasis in public relations.


This year was Langlois and Petersen’s first time competing at Yardsticks, and they learned about the competition from Professor Blossom. They both felt that their PR classes helped them earn positions as finalists.

“A big thing that [PR classes] stress is research, research, research,” said Langlois. “So, the first thing I did was research to learn more about the target public and then research to back up my strategy and tactic. Also I think my classes helped my presenting skills, [which] helped me stand out against my competitors. Lastly, I think that my classes helped me to think strategically, not just creatively. Yes I worked hard to make a creative piece, but more than that I worked to make sure that my entry was strategic, target[ed] the correct public and made sense for the organization.”

”Our PR program really emphasizes justification for every single action you take; why will this work, how does it accomplish the objectives?” said Petersen. “We’re very calculating people. I had a lot of great ideas I would’ve loved to use and actually liked more than the work I submitted, but the justification behind them wasn’t as strong so I threw them out and started over. Justification is so important in PR campaigns, and that mentality carried over into this competition. One of the judges told me that while my entry wasn’t the most innovative or the most “pretty”, it was “smart”. For me, public relations pushes the smart before the pretty. Make it good, make it work, and then make it pretty -which is what I tried to do.”

Congratulations again to our School of Communications students for working hard, and earning finalist positions in the Yardsticks competition.