thePitch 2020 Announcement!

Thank you to everyone who has supported thePitch year after year.  Due to the obvious (I refuse to say it) – unprecedented – (darn it) circumstances, we have decided to both delay and reframe the AAF Pittsburgh’s annual challenge.   Our current, yet fluid, plan is to host thePitch virtually in late January 2021.  This will give us time to work with the agencies to formulate a system and time for educators and students to get a semester of learning under their belts, in whatever fashion it looks like.  So, please stay tuned.  If you’d like to be added to our email list for Education / thePitch related updates, please shoot an email to and we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop. 

Stay safe and wear a mask!

AAF Pgh Education Chair, Rebecca Senneway



On Friday, October 4th, 2019 college students from eleven schools participated in thePitch. thePitch is a one day competition focused on advertising and its associated disciplines. Students received hands-on experience by working at a Pittsburgh advertising agency on a real-world project with a local non-profit organization. This years non-profit “client”, The Mattress Factory, reviewed all seven team proposals & video submissions and had the tough job of selecting a winner.



Alison Breisinger – University of Pittsburgh

Maya Goldstein – Chatham University

Emily Insalaco – University of Pittsburgh

Kerianne Kistner – University of Pittsburgh

Jonnah McClintock – Point Park University

Zachary Passalacqua – University of Pittsburgh

Anna Stephen – Duquesne University

Taylor Valerio – Youngstown State University


A BIG thank you goes out to the following agencies, volunteers, and corporations for donating their space, people, time and swag. Without them this awesome day would not be possible!


Mattress Factory



Brunner • Chemistry • Garrison Hughes • Gatesman

Marc USA • Moxie • Tonic



Marisa Allen, MNI Targeted Media / Account Executive

Chris Cox, Pittsburgh Opera / Director of Marketing & Communications

Evie DeSarno, AAF Pittsburgh & Ad 2 / Executive Director

Zach Duncan, Root & Branch / Digital Marketing Strategist

Meade Johnson, Limited Chaos

Victor Kimmel, NFM Dymun / Account Director

John Miller, Marketspace Communications

Jordan Mitrik, Brunner / PR Specialist

George Potts, Fifth Influence / President & Co-founder

Gordon “G-Money” Robertson, Hullabaloo Agency / Founder / Creative

Maureen Rooney, Marketspace Communications / Director of Account Services

Adele Stewart, Sparq Designs / Brand Marketing Manager

Sadie Stresky, 321Blink / Brand Strategist

Lauren Townsend, Marketspace Communications / Copywriter

Victoria Zwergel, Hullabaloo Agency / Accounts



Big Science Music • Dollar Bank • Eat N’ Park • Marc USA

Pittsburgh Opera • Primanti Bros • RR Donnelly • UPMC • UPMC Health Plan


What is The Pitch?

The Pitch is a one day competition focused on advertising and its associated disciplines. You will receive hands-on experience by working at a Pittsburgh advertising agency on a real-world project with a local non-profit organization.

Who should register?

YOU… if you are a junior or senior interested in the field of advertising and its related disciplines (creative, consumer research, brand strategy, media planning, account management, etc.). The cost is $35 per student and includes lunch. 

How does The Pitch work?

On Friday, October 4, 2019, you will work on one of six teams to address a client challenge.  About a week before the event you will be assigned (via the email address you provide on the application form) to an agency and given more details about the day.

What agencies are participating?

This year’s competition includes: Brunner, Chemistry, Garrison Hughes, Gatesman, MARC USA, Moxie and Tonic

Why do you need to participate?

The Pitch is intensive, real world, and really cool. You will gain invaluable insight into the advertising world and its work, while gaining access to a top Pittsburgh agency and its ad professionals. You will build your resume, professional portfolio, and contacts while doing something that will help you determine if this field is right for you.

What’s in it for you?

  • American Advertising Federation Pittsburgh Student Membership
  • Exposure to agency setting and to agency personnel
  • Goodie Bag

What happens if your team wins the competition?

Winning team members are entitled to:

  • Public recognition at Pittsburgh Addy awards in March 2020
  • Resume review by industry professionals, followed by resume distribution to the entire American Advertising Federation Pittsburgh Board of Directors for potential future employment consideration.
  • Possible execution of concepts by the client.
  • Best of all – Bragging rights!

What’s the timeframe?

You will need to be onsite at your assigned agency by 9 a.m. for an agency tour and an introduction to your client’s challenge. The day ends at 5:30 p.m.  A more detailed schedule will come with your registration confirmation. 


Business casual. This can include blue jeans—without holes. No hats. The key? Be professional.



*Registration closes on September 19, 2019 at 5:00pm or when our limited number of spaces are filled.  Don’t delay, register today!

**Cancellations must be received before September 23, 2019 for a refund (minus transaction fees).  If you find that you are unable to attend after the cancellation date, we would be happy to accept a substitute, please reach out to and for more details.