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D & AD Awards Recognize Creative Work by Academy Students & Alumni

Each year, advertising professionals take a break from creating innovative ads and TV spots to step into the spotlight themselves as they win awards for their creative work. The coveted D & AD Yellow Pencil is among the most respected awards in the industry.

Six Academy of Art University students and two alumni were nominated for D & AD Student Awards for their work in the Integrated Advertising, Open Advertising and What Else Do You Do? categories. Six of the nominees flew to London for the awards ceremony on June 16.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at their campaigns, the award ceremony and their experience.

Oxfam: Your Charitable Wingman

Targeting a young demographic, Sarah Tyler, Thuy Vo and JP LeRoux created a clever concept to demonstrate the benefits of donating to Oxfam, an organization that works in 98 countries to find solutions to poverty and injustice.

Sarah Tyler and JP LeRoux
at the D & AD Awards

The campaign, which won the three a Yellow Pencil in the Open Advertising category, was built around the idea that “girls like guys who are charitable” and used as its tagline the phrase, “Your Charitable Wingman.” A series of posters were created to be placed in areas where relationships might start like coffee shops, bars and movie theaters.

Each ad featured a QR code that enabled the audience to download an iPhone application that would give them a “charitable pickup line” when they donate. Then, the user’s interest in charity would be posted to their Facebook wall, sharing with their friends.

Oxfam Campaign by JP LeRoux,
Sarah Tyler and Thuy Vo
Click to Enlarge

“This would get people involved at a smaller price point, attracting a younger audience,” said the campaign’s copywriter, JP. “So while the people using the app might not have much money to spend now, they would know about Oxfam for the future, as their income grows.”

Thuy, the Art Director for the team, designed the posters to fit their surroundings. “The color palette and type were chosen to give a vintage feel and a classical look to the campaign,” he said.

Both Sarah and JP traveled to London to attend the ceremony and receive their awards. “London was amazing,” said Sarah, who is pursuing her Advertising MFA in Account Planning. “I was able to meet with David Warren of DDB and Craig Mawdsley of BBDO. They were both great to talk to and shared some wonderful planning wisdom. The awards show itself was a night I will never forget.”

Ancestry: Find Who to Blame or Thank

Ancestry Campaign by
Javier Henriquez and Marissa Langman
Click to Enlarge

Receiving a Grey Pencil in the What Else Do You Do? category for their efforts, Marissa Langman and Javier Henriquez created a campaign for Ancestry, a site that guides users in discovering their own family’s history.

The campaign, featuring ads designed for bus stops, hand straps on public transit and other areas, centers around the idea of finding who to blame or thank for the characteristics people love or hate about themselves. “Our inspiration came mainly from life experience,” said copywriter Marissa. “Many of the headlines are things I have complained to my parents about or at least thought about at some point.”

Marissa, who graduated this May, feels the Academy has helped move her in the right direction to achieve her dream of working as a copywriter. “Ellen Shakespeare [Co-Director of Advertising] has had a huge impact on me,” Marissa said. “She taught me that anything I write should always tell the audience something they don’t already know.”

Ancestry Campaign by
Javier Henriquez and Marissa Langman
Click to Enlarge

Javier, the art director for the campaign, earned his BFA in Graphic Design at Academy of Art University and is now working on his MFA in Advertising. He found the ceremony in London to be an opportunity to connect with professionals in advertising. “It was great to participate in an event with the British advertising industry. It’s a good chance to stand out and gain respect from the worldwide creative community,” he said.

Westfield Stratford: A New Citizenship

Copywriter Zach Morvant and art director Raza Durrani collaborated with Academy of Art University Illustration student Leo Dasso to create an ambitious multiplatform campaign for the Westfield Mall in the Stratford area of London. The concept won them a Grey Pencil in the Integrated Advertising category of the D & AD Student Awards.

Their campaign combined outdoor advertising, an iPhone app and promotions in stores built around the iPhone app. “We were inspired by the idea that the reinvigoration of the Stratford area of London was akin to building a new nation,” said Zach. “So, we created ‘A New Citizenship,’ which gave the user a digital ‘passport’ and motivated participation through gamifying elements.”

Westfield Mall Campaign by Leo Dasso,
Raza Durrani and Zach Morvant
Click to Enlarge

The team worked to meet the challenge of bringing shoppers from West London to East London. “The campaign made people start out on a quest to unlock rewards, discover new places, meet new people and become part of a new community,” said Raza. “I thought it would be interesting to make a campaign that engages people to travel to a new mall and gain benefits from a mobile phone they use every day.”

After their success, each member of the team is now working on exciting new projects. Zach is working with Academy alums Andrew Wright and Michael Waldman at the agency they launched together, Anatomy. “Against all odds, Anatomy is going cosmically well. Academy of Art University helped prepare me for this by providing me with a variety of unique challenges,” he said.

Westfield Mall Campaign by Leo Dasso,
Raza Durrani and Zach Morvant
Click to Enlarge

Raza is currently working at an advertising agency in San Francisco, which works on projects for a client list that includes the U.S. Air Force, Sony, Michael Mina and others.

Again collaborating with fellow Academy students, Leo is working on a game called Feverdream, which marks his third major game project in Flash. “I want to break into the social gaming circle,” he said. “There’s a lot of creativity in these startup companies, but it’s also one of the more stable jobs an illustrator can get.”


Congratulations to all of the Academy of Art University students who were nominated for D & AD awards!

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