ARLINGTON, VA – The National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC), a unique contest for college students from across the country, begins its 2009 district competitions today. This year's contest is unique in that it is the first time the competition asks students to address a social issue via public service advertising to promote a positive behavioral change: the prevention of dangerous overconsumption of alcohol among college students. The NSAC is administered by the American Advertising Foundation and is the nation's leading student advertising competition. 142 schools from across the country will participate in this year's competition.

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, the Ad Council, a nonprofit organization that marshals the pro bono resources of the advertising and media industries to create public service campaigns, and the American Council on Education (ACE), the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, have joined together to find new creative ways to address the problem of overconsumption of alcohol on college campuses. The NSAC offers a valuable opportunity for students to achieve a professional-level educational experience, and this year's competition is unique given the potential to create a positive behavioral, and potentially societal, change.

"We are proud to embark on this endeavor with the strong support of the Ad Council and ACE – both of whom share our commitment to fighting the dangerous overconsumption of alcohol among college students. Since The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility's founding, we have continued to search for effective and innovative ways to educate students about the dangers associated with the irresponsible consumption of alcohol," said Ralph Blackman, President & CEO of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. "Gaining the insights from students on how best to reach their peers is absolutely essential to combating the social problem of the overconsumption of alcohol on college campuses."

This year's competition has already raised awareness of this issue on many campuses. Faculty advisors have made comments such as "students have a sense of creating positive value for their peers and they have gotten close to important issues around drinking responsibly that they had not considered before." Another advisor stated "this is the most difficult (and important) NSAC problem we have ever had to solve, we now know without a doubt that college binge drinking IS a solvable issue and the end result of solving the issue will be a far better and safer college experience for everyone."

Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of the Ad Council added, "I am so pleased that we'll have the collective energy of our industry's future talent, who are also in the target audience for this issue, help us craft smart and motivating communications. For the first time ever, the AAF National Student Advertising Competition is shining a spotlight on the power of public service advertising to change behaviors, attitudes and in some cases, save lives. And on college campuses, I can't think of a more important issue – binge drinking -- to unleash the potential of public service advertising to make a difference.

"Alcohol abuse by students remains of great concern to college and university presidents nationwide, and campus communities continue to devote significant resources to addressing this issue," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. "I am energized by the level of interest in this year's campaign, as peers often deliver the strongest messages to students about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. ACE looks forward to reviewing the student proposals and working with The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and the Ad Council to educate our students and raise their awareness about making smart choices."

The district competitions will take place over the next three weeks at 15 locations across the country. Judges from varying backgrounds including advertising, academic and health professionals, will determine the first- through fourth-place teams. The winning team from each district will then advance to the national finals held in June at the AAF National Conference in Arlington, Virginia, where they will present their work to The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, the Ad Council, and ACE.

For a list of district competitions and participants visit www.aaf.org.

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
Launched in 1991, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is a leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol. For more information about The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility or its initiatives, visit www.responsibility.org.

The American Advertising Federation
The American Advertising Federation (AAF), headquartered in Washington, D.C., acts as the "Unifying Voice for Advertising." The AAF is the oldest national advertising trade association, representing 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry. The AAF has a national network of 200 ad clubs located in ad communities across the country. Through its 215 college chapters, the AAF provides 6,500 advertising students with real-world case studies and recruitment connections to corporate America. The AAF also has 130 blue-chip corporate members that are advertisers, agencies and media companies, comprising the nation's leading brands and corporations. For more information, visit www.aaf.org.

The Ad Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families. For more information, visit www.adcouncil.org.

The American Council on Education
Founded in 1918, The American Council on Education (ACE) is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and influence public policy through advocacy, research, and program initiatives. For more information, visit www.acenet.edu.

Matthew B. Harakal
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
(202) 637-0077