BYU’s student-led advertising agency, the BYU Adlab, has been ranked the No. 1 advertising program in the nation by College Magazine. The ranking has brought the program national recognition.
The AdLab was founded in 2003 and has since acquired hundreds of familiar clients, including Airbnb, Old Spice, Nike, Volkswagen, Nestle, Taco Bell and Levi’s.
Last year the BYU AdLab ranked among the top 10 in the world through The One Club for Creativity‘s college rankings, and this is its first year ranking No. 1 in the nation.
Advertising student Caroline Burke was accepted into the advertising program in 2017 and was recently admitted to the creative track within the program.
The advertising program has a creative and account management track.
According to the BYU School of Communications, the creative track primarily focuses on “wordsmiths, artists and producers,” while the account management track focuses mainly on “managing the budget, timeline and the client’s overall success.”
“We are constantly working on real projects for some of the largest clients in the world in addition to spec work that comes from our own passions,” Burke said. “The Adlab runs just like an advertising agency. Every time we present work to real clients they are blown away by how professional and high-quality our level of thinking is.”
The AdLab is supervised by advertising program faculty and a professional mentor works with each student.
Pat Doyle is the current AdLab manager and has overseen the AdLab for five years. Doyle helps students foster and showcase creativity through award-winning work.
“The strength of our program comes from a combination of fantastic professors, incredible support from the School of Communications and the best students on the planet,” Doyle said.
The AdLab focuses on the strength of the students and how students can best use their strengths to develop valuable skills in the workplace, according to Doyle.
“It’s a very collaborative effort on all fronts,” Doyle said. “Our focus is finding creative solutions to clients’ challenges, problems and opportunities.”
Burke said she thinks the AdLab’s ranking is related to its culture of positivity and hard work.
“It’s our constant energy and positivity that have helped us rise to the top,” Burke said. “All the graduating seniors this year have put a ton of work into making their portfolios the best they can be.”
Working with real clients has also proven to be successful within the AdLab and has given students the opportunity to have experiences to put on a resume.
“Working with some of the biggest and best brands has been a key to our success. There is real pressure to perform, but our students rise to the occasion,” Doyle said. “The real-life experience they are getting working with real brands before they graduate is huge, and they start their first jobs with some valuable experience, taking what they’ve learned in the classroom and then applying it to real challenges, which makes a big difference in our student’s growth.”
Not only is the AdLab a great place to be, according to students like Burke, but life after graduation proves to be just as rewarding.
“The things that helped us rank No. 1 were awards and job placement,” Burke said. “Our seniors get jobs at the top agencies in the country because of the work they’ve put in.”
On the left wall of the AdLab is a trophy shelf lined with awards. The shelves are entirely full, and each award was won by students in the AdLab within the last two years.
BYU advertising student Eric Forbush agrees BYU advertising alumni continue to show outstanding work outside the AdLab.
“We have so many alumni out in the field doing incredible things,” Forbush said. “They, in turn, come to BYU to recruit and inspire us, and that allows the AdLab to continue to get better.”
The professors and students within the AdLab have worked collectively to make the space inviting and welcoming for inspired learning.
“The lab is great because it is a fun creative atmosphere, which makes it inviting to work in,” Forbush said.
Doyle said he believes students’ religious perspectives can help them succeed and excel in their schoolwork in any front.
“I believe that students who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are uniquely prepared … both on the account side of our program and on the creative side,” Doyle said. “They seek to find human insights that resonate with people and find creative ways to make those messages come to life.”
Doyle said he believes the advertising program is very blessed and hopes to continue to see progress in years going forward.