BYU students finalists in L’Oreal Brandstorm


Six BYU students have been rewarded for their creative work by being selected as finalists in the L’Oreal Brandstorm Campaign.

This year marks the 21st year for the competition and the second time BYU students have filled not one but two of the finalist positions. The six finalists will be competing in New York City in April 2013.

Jeff Sheets, campus faculty adviser for the campaign and the director of the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration, explained the rarity of two groups being selected.

“This is an international campaign; 36 countries are participating, and for the past six years BYU has been guaranteed a spot in the national competition,” Sheets said. “This year, however, our teams were so well prepared they selected two as finalists, taking the place of schools that normally take one of those spots. It is very abnormal, certainly not something you see every day.”

Even more surprising, however, is that this year marks the second time two BYU groups were chosen to compete in the New York City finalists competition. In 2008, not only were two groups selected, but one of those groups went on to win the international competition.

“I’d like to hope that history will repeat itself, and we’ll see another international winner,” Sheets said. “These groups have great campaigns.”

Each group is comprised of three members. Traditionally these teams were comprised only of students from the BYU advertising program. This year, though, in addition to advertising students, marketing students like Colby Hawker, from Las Vegas, also joined some teams.

“They announced the competition in one of my business classes, and it sounded intriguing,” Hawker said. “I went to the info session, and I saw advertising students mixed with a room full of cosmetic products. I felt a little out of my element, but I wanted to jump in the competition for the challenge of it. I felt like I could contribute a lot of what I learned in the Marriott School.”

The two teams needed to draw on the strengths of the best, because this year L’Oreal introduced one of its toughest campaigns to date. Tim Colvin, an advertising major from Preston, Idaho, discussed some of the challenges the teams faced.

“At the BYU campus finals, the L’Oreal team told us this is the hardest challenge they have ever created, and I believe it,” Colvin said. “The challenge was to take a current product L’Oreal Paris offers and introduce it into the Southeast Asian market. That market includes 11 countries with very different economic situations, ethnicities, religions and cultures.  The biggest question was how to make one advertising message relevant to all those people.”

Both teams did extensive research to better understand the cultures of customers in this markets, and, according to Paris Sorbonne, an advertising student from Salt Lake, the hard work payed off.

“We basically sat in Erik’s living room for hours during the month presenting different ideas and analyzing whether or not they were viable solutions,” Sorbonne said. “After analyzing the market we discovered that 32 percent of the total population in Southeast Asia do not use bottles. Instead they buy these sachet packets.  We decided to market a three-step salon quality treatment in one sachet packet.  This idea was something each of us became especially passionate about.”

The six finalists — Tim Colvin, Erik Eckern, Paris Sorbonne, Christina Christiansen, Colby Hawker and Laurel Bulloch — will be meeting with a professional team from L’Oreal and will prepare for the finals which will be held in New York City in April.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this national competition,” Sorbonne said. “New York, here we come.”



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