In Advertising, Awards and Achievements, BYU AdLab

Participants pose with a MINI Cooper, the brand they were assigned to for the competition.

BYU’s advertising program has made a name for itself in the past few years as one of the leading undergraduate advertising programs in the United States with a number of awards to boot. Recently a group of students made the trek to New York City to win the crowning jewel of college advertising awards: the Effie.

“This is the first time that BYU has won a National Collegiate Effie, and it’s a big deal,” Pat Doyle, director of the AdLab, said. “The Effies are awarded for effectiveness in marketing communications. There are a lot of industry awards for creativity but only a small handful for effectiveness. That’s why the Effies are so prestigious.”

Two teams from BYU submitted campaign briefs for both MINI USA as well as U by Kotex. The U by Kotex team made it to the semifinals and the MINI USA team took home the finalist award. There were 80 different entries from universities around the country. Awards were given for the best campaign strategy.

“I wonder if there has ever been an advertising program who has won an Effie, an Addy, a Pencil, a Silver Bullet and L’Oréal Brandstorm within the last five years,” Ed Adams, chair of the BYU Department of Communications, said. “I don’t think there has been.”

The winning team members from the BYU AdLab were Alex Bennet, Camille Hansen, Lucy Myers and Sean O’Rourke. O’Rourke, who headed the campaign, expressed great excitement about campaign as a whole.

“The campaign was a real sprint for our team. The two ‘legs’ took around a total of 24 to 30 hours (all working together). It’s fun to work under pressure. For example, our entry reel was all scripted, filmed, and edited less than 24 hours before our submission needed to be turned in,” O’Rourke said.

He also shared that the Department of Communications and its staff were integral parts in the success of the campaign.

“Our entry was funded by the Communications Department, so it wouldn’t have happened without them. We had some solid advice from Scott Rackham before submitting,” he said. “Preparing for the final presentation we had some really good mentors as well – guys like Pat Doyle and especially Kevin Kelly who really went out of their way to put us in ‘industry shoes’ as we tightened up our pitch. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

The students traveled to New Jersey to the BMW headquarters for the competition and were accompanied by Professor Kevin Kelly from the advertising program. They presented to the heads of MINI’s marketing department as well as individuals from two firms that represent MINI.

“My favorite part was meeting the people from MINI and their agencies. People are what it’s all about, and behind every product, pitch and brand…there are real faces, people who have stories to tell and personalities that can help you grow. That was the most valuable part for me,” O’Rourke concluded.

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