BYU students win national and international advertising competitions

Christ Petersen
Taylor Dahl accepts the “Best in Show” award for at the Student American Advertising Awards Competition on Saturday, June 10 in New Orleans. (Chris Petersen)

The BYU AdLab recently took home eight awards at the National Student American Advertising Awards Competition creating the biggest awards year yet for the AdLab.

The AdLab additionally received the top award, Best of Show, for the project “Vespa-Ride to Fly,” as well as a Judges Choice Award for commercials created about Swedish Fish.

The Student American Advertising Awards are seen as the country’s most competitive student advertising competition. Projects must first receive Gold ADDYs at the local and regional levels in order to be qualified for the national level.

AdLab Director Pat Doyle said the awards that the AdLab has won at the ADDYs would be equivalent to the animation program winning a Student Emmy or the football team winning the National Championship.

“I keep on saying it’s a big deal, because it is,” Doyle said. “It’s just neat to see the quality of work that’s occurring out of the students from our program, and the opportunities they’re getting because of the AdLab.”

Taylor Dahl, one of the art directors for “Vespa-Ride to Fly,” worked with five other students to create their Vespa commercial. The film uses cardboard popups to tell the story of Gusieppe Russo. Russo uses his Vespa to move a wedding party to a new location so the wedding, that was postponed because of a fire, could still take place.

The project wasn’t for a client but was a project the students did outside of their schoolwork to help build their portfolios.

“We definitely never had winning awards in mind,” Dahl said. “It was just like ‘make something cool.'”

Chris Petersen
Taylor Dahl holds the “Best in Show” award for the “Vespa-Ride to Fly” project he worked on, at the Student American Advertising Awards Competition on June 10 in New Orleans. (Chris Petersen)

The students started the project back in August and met together weekly and then spent a lot of time to complete the project before Christmas. Dahl said they spent hundreds of hours just hand-crafting the materials used in the film.

Dahl said he enjoyed seeing the project coming to life after spending so much time assembling the materials.

“We had the vision in our minds and seeing that become a reality was pretty unique,” Dahl said.

BYU advertising students have also received awards this season from several awards programs, including the One Show, the Global Association for Creative Advertising and Design Awards and the Effie Awards.

Advertising professor Jeff Sheets said the several awards they’ve received this year show that the advertising program is strong in all areas. The ADDYs primarily look at the creative side but other awards focus on strategic and management sides. Students took first place in the EFFIE awards which looks at effectiveness in marketing through evidence given by research. One Show is an international award where BYU won for creative ingenuity.

This is kind of the dream scenario for an academic program, where every discipline is winning awards,” Sheets said. “This is pretty remarkable and unheard of really in any one program having strength in all of its areas all at once.”

Sheets said the stated goal of the faculty is to make the advertising program the best undergraduate program in the country. He said this year’s awards is evidence that that goal is coming to pass.

Several of the student projects submitted for awards this year were done by juniors who still have their senior year ahead of them. Sheets said the program is excited to see what they are going to do again.

“We see nothing but potential to even improve upon this year’s results and continue growing and becoming even better in the future,” Sheets said.

Dahl and several other ad students leave this week for a study abroad in Europe. They will first stop in France to attend the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity as well as traveling to London and Amsterdam to work with advertising agencies and attend other award shows.

“I’m so proud of these kids, they worked so hard,” Doyle said.

You can see more of the student’s projects at The Vespa project can be viewed here and the Swedish Fish project can be viewed here.

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