Pitching, yes. Bitching…

When the team at DeGroote School of Business at Hamilton's McMaster University came up with a feisty slogan to promote the second Canada's Next Top Ad Exec contest, they didn't think they'd face opposition from their own students' union.

When the team at DeGroote School of Business at Hamilton’s McMaster University came up with a feisty slogan to promote the second Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec contest, they didn’t think they’d face opposition from their own students’ union.

Nopitchdontbitch.ca was developed by Woodbridge, Ont.-based The Brand Factory to spread the word about the case competition, which invites business students to develop a campaign for sponsor Mitsubishi Motors of Canada. Posters, coasters, and packing tape featuring the URL were sent to schools across the country. But the McMaster Students Union, and a faculty member at Queen’s University, objected to the word ‘bitch,’ so they were reprinted with a ‘marketing advisory’ sticker.

‘We realized there would be controversy, and it became a bonus because that creates more buzz,’ says DeGroote lecturer and director of business exchange Mandeep Malik. Schools can also promote the primary website, topadexec.com, but Malik says the second site was needed to pique the interest of Canada’s 160,000 MBA students, business minors and undergrads in advertising careers.

New this year are an official YouTube channel, a blog by last year’s winner, Monica Walker, and a 300-member Facebook group. ‘You’ve got to put yourself where your target lives,’ says contest student chair and McMaster Mechanical Engineering and Management student Adam Vespi. And prizes have doubled, with internships from the CMA and Toronto-based agency BBDO and two Mitsubishi Lancers to be awarded at the industry showcase day on Mar. 25.

At press time, 30 business schools and 10 MBA programs were participating, and two are considering integrating the program into their curriculum. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 25.