BYU Advertising Students Win National Competition

Contributed By Andrea Christensen, Church News contributor

  • 21 June 2017

A team of BYU students took the top prize in the country’s most competitive student advertising competition—for a project they did not do for a class or client, but for fun.

“The credibility that comes from winning an award show is immense in our industry because it’s not just you pounding your chest and saying you’re great; it’s the industry reminding everyone else that you are great.” —Jeff Sheets, BYU professor

A team of BYU students took the top prize in the country’s most competitive student advertising competition—for a project they did not do for a class or client, but for fun.

It was summer and they had a little extra time, so the crew set out to create “something big and cool and different,” said senior Taylor Dahl.

Their finished product—a whimsically illustrated and filmed Vespa commercial—took national best of show at the Student American Advertising Awards Competition (commonly referred to as the ADDYs) on June 10.

Awards committee chairman George Riddell called the competition a “showcase of bright new talent” that provides “a glimpse at the advertising industry of tomorrow.” The best of show award, one of 10 national ADDYs BYU received, is a high point in a season of high points for BYU’s ad program.

“The credibility that comes from winning an award show is immense in our industry because it’s not just you pounding your chest and saying you’re great; it’s the industry reminding everyone else that you are great,” said BYU professor Jeff Sheets.

In addition to their ADDYs, BYU ad students have received top honors this season from a host of national and international awards programs, including the One Show, the Global Association for Creative Advertising and Design Awards, the Cannes Lions, and the Effie Awards.

The advertising program—fortified by a lab whose students have produced work for clients including Nike, L’Oreal, Volkswagen, Gatorade, and more—is no stranger to recognition in both strategic and creative competitions. But the scope and breadth of this year’s awards has surpassed years past to a degree that BYU AdLab manager Pat Doyle calls “remarkable.” The awards reflect both the robustness of BYU’s advertising program, Doyle said, as well as the drive and creativity of its students.

The student team created a small Italian town and disheartened wedding party out of stylized cardboard popups. When planned vows derail, Giuseppe Russo and his hipster Vespa save the day. Sheets, who helped mentor the crew, called their side-project ad “unexpected, smart, crafted, artisan. It’s got a lot of charm.”