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Academy Alumni Hailed as ‘New Talent’ in Adweek Magazine

Three graduates from Academy of Art University’s School of Advertising were recognized by Adweek magazine as talent to watch due to their thought-provoking work. With less than five years of agency experience under their belts, alumni Mike Brenner and Greg Coffin, who won the Best Emerging Talent award, and Dayoung Ewart, who received accolades on her creative work for the Coke Zero campaign, have made their mark in the world of advertising.

Greg Coffin and Mike Brenner
At Adweek’s 33rd Creative Conference Mashup 2007, Greg and Mike, both of the San Francisco advertising agency Attik, won "Best Emerging Talent" due to their cutting-edge advertising campaigns for Toyota’s Scion xD. The aim of the duo’s "Little Deviant" summer 2007 campaign was to differentiate it from other cars and market it as the aggressive hellion of the Scion family. The campaign spawned cinema and TV spots, a comic book, subway signs, print ads and a microsite.

The creative duo initially met in the Academy’s graduate Advertising program. Greg received his BFA from University of Colorado and was designing flyers for raves in his spare time. After studying art theory in England, he became interested in the conceptual side of design and decided to pursue an MFA in Advertising.

"The Academy was the school that was the best fit for what I wanted to do," Greg recalled.

Mike studied English and Psychology in undergrad and then tried to make a career out of playing music. He was also working as an ad and page designer at a newspaper. He initially wanted to pursue graphic design, but decided that advertising coalesced all of his interests.

"I decided to go into advertising because its everything – it’s design, new media, music and pop culture – all of these things rolled in one," he said.

When Greg was hired at Attik, he encouraged the agency to hire his friend from the Academy, Brenner. The two encourage current Academy students to network as much as possible because they have found that peers and instructors are the best resources.

"Know your teachers and stay in touch with your teachers," advised Greg.

In fact, it was Academy of Art University School of Advertising Director Melinda Mettler who nominated them for "Best Emerging Talent." They were bestowed with their award at a luncheon with some of the biggest names in advertising.

"I remember reading [the Adweek Emerging Talent article] and thinking ‘Wow, that will never be me,’" Mike said.

Dayoung Ewart
Dayoung Ewart was inspired to study advertising after watching commercials in Korea that made her laugh.

"I thought it would be great if I can do the same for other people," she said.

Dayoung came to Academy of Art University after receiving a summer scholarship. She gave it a try and found that she really loved the Academy’s advertising classes. Within the program, she was supported by energetic and motivational instructors. While she was attending school, she emailed Mark Taylor, then the art director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky and told him how much she admired his work. Taylor gave her feedback on her work and the relationship eventually led to a job offer.

"I sometimes feel like what I’m doing is not advertising. Perhaps it’s the culture we have at CP+B that makes me feel that way," she said. "I rather feel like what I’m doing is changing the culture."

She has gotten most recognition for her Coke Zero "taste infringement" campaign. The idea behind the ads is that Coca-Cola lawyers sue Coke Zero for having the same taste as their product. Dayoung recalled how thrilling it was to see her campaign come to fruition.

"I was just so excited to see this campaign getting made, I didn’t really expect anything," she said. "A lot of people worked so hard for this campaign to be produced, so I’m very happy and thankful."


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