What do The North Face and Heinz ketchup have in common? The answer is nothing, except for the fact that each brand was the subject of an award-winning advertisement made by two students in the Department of Advertising.
The American Advertising Awards, or ADDYs, are a multi-tier national competition for which applicants hope to be recognized as the best in their markets. Senior Lilian Broyles received a gold ADDY Student Award at the district level for her poster campaign for The North Face and will be advancing to be judged at the national level. Junior Maya Krishnamurthy won a silver ADDY Student Award at the same level for art direction in her ad for Heinz ketchup.
Broyles is an advertising major with a concentration in art direction, and decided to follow that path because "you still have that liberty of going in different directions" that she wouldn't have had as an art student. As someone who is interested in psychology, current events, history and Asian studies, she loves being able to combine her passions into her advertising work.
Originally a graphic design major, Krishnamurthy switched to advertising her freshman year, and has concentrations in art direction as well as brand strategy and research. Additionally, she is pursuing a minor in digital media technologies. The combination of these areas of study is a reflection of Krishnamurthy's interest in design as well as data, and she hopes to go into user experience design after graduation.
Both winning advertisements began as projects for ADV 3052: Art Direction I: Concept & Layout. Assistant Professor in the Department of Advertising and ADV 3052 Instructor Kathy Mueller entered the works into the ADDY awards on behalf of Broyles and Krishnamurthy.
"I keep track of what I consider to be the most extraordinary, creative projects that my students produce, and I like to enter that exceptional work in some industry competitions," Mueller said.
However, this meant that Broyles and Krishnamurthy did not know that they were being entered until they found out the good news. Both students were shocked when they found out they had won, but happy that their hard work had paid off.
"It was really cool seeing how excited the faculty and everyone was," Krishnamurthy said, "It made me see that it was more of a big deal than I thought it was."
Each project in Mueller's course starts out with a "creative problem to be solved." For The North Face project, students had to create an advertisement that would appeal to the next generation of female explorers, rather than the typical older and male demographic that The North Face typically serves. "Women need to be shown in these kinds of atmospheres where they're shown with more adventurous higher sport level experiences," Broyles said. Her series of posters features women rising above or moving past discriminatory remarks or stereotypes that women typically face. The words "break free" are there to show that "you and only you have the ability to break free from the world's expectations," Broyles explained.
For the Heinz project, students had to promote Heinz as the most chosen ketchup brand and make their ketchup the center of attention. At first, Krishnamurthy felt disconnected from the brand because, as she explained, "my relationship with ketchup is not strong." Nevertheless, she used typography that looked like ketchup with some of ketchup's most common and delicious companions — chicken nuggets, French fries and tater tots — to emphasize that these classic combos are American favorites because of Heinz.
The COVID-19 pandemic has moved many schools and workplaces to digital environments, and the advertising business is reflecting that. Broyles took ADV 3052 last spring, when the shift from in-person to virtual classes first occurred. For her final project for the course, she created packaging for Panda Express that brought awareness to Asian hate crimes that gained national attention during the pandemic, and unfortunately still plague the country today. Before the pandemic, Krishnamurthy was not sure what field she wanted to pursue after graduating. Now, her interest in user experience has grown along with the increasing digitization of our everyday lives, especially as she began encountering more poorly designed programs.
Mueller could not be prouder of Broyles and Krishnamurthy. "These two students are exceptional students and they showed up to class each and every time with expectations met and succeeded," she said.
Mueller added that she is glad that the ADDY judges agreed with her view of the work's excellence. "It's a beautiful moment when I can witness my students be recognized for the excellent work that they do every day," she said.