Communication students from The University of Texas-Pan American took top honors in several categories at the Valley Advertising Federation's (VAF) annual ADDY® Awards ceremony Feb. 19, which honored the best advertisers in the area.
The VAF, the American Advertising Federation's chapter in the Rio Grande Valley, held their ADDY® Awards ceremony recently in Harlingen. This year, a student division was added to the prestigious competition and UTPA swept the awards with two gold (first place), one silver (second place), and a special judge's award - "Rising Star" - for young professionals new to the advertising industry. Entries were judged based on creativity, originality and creative strategy.
"Not only am I proud of their accomplishments, but for being brave enough to put their work out for the professional world to critique," she said.
Students from UTPA's AdClub entered work from a campaign created for a new dining facility in the University's Student Union named "Latitude's World Cuisine." The AdClub was asked by Sodexho, the food service company for the University, to create the "idea" of the restaurant. The project included developing a brand (starting with a name), a logo, the physical appearance of the eatery, menus, signage, promotions, advertising and uniforms.
The AdClub's ADDY® entries included the restaurant's logo, a newspaper campaign titled "Travel" and an outdoor poster campaign. The work was created by a team of six AdClub student members - Aaron Lozano, Christina Harris-Vela, Carlos Contreras, Priscilla Moralez, Franco Caballero and Georgina Cavasos.
Selber said, most notably, the judges had the right to reclassify a student project so it could compete at the professional level.
"The judges reclassified the student's logo and said it was better than anything in the professional category," she said. "I think that shows that our students have the talent to compete with professionals in the industry."
The AdClub's logo received a first place award in the professional category and also received the judges Rising Star award. The outdoor poster campaign also won first place and the newspaper campaign placed second in the student category.
The students agreed their preparation for the competition allowed them to use what they learned at the University and apply it to a real-world project.
"Winning an ADDY® as a student assured me that the education I received at UTPA is a concrete foundation for the rest of my professional and academic career," Moralez said. "Winning that night, in the presence of local ad industry leaders, allowed me to stand proud and declare I am a student from UTPA."
Harris-Vela said it was amazing to be able to receive awards as a student alongside large advertising agencies.
"One day I may be working for one of those agencies," Harris-Vela said. "It definitely gives me something to strive for."
In addition to the student AdClub entries, Panorama - UTPA's student magazine - received a second place medal for editorial design. UTPA students Gabriela Barajas and Cindy Mata, now master's students at The University of Texas at Austin in advertising, along with Dägoberto Perez, a senior English major, and Caballero, a junior journalism major, constituted the winning team.
Caballero, who participated in both the AdClub's project and Panorama's, said he was in awe the entire night.
"I can still hear the words in my head as one by one we stood up to receive an award. I'd have to say that the climax of the ceremony was when we received the Rising Star award," he said. "To me it represents all the hardships and stress we had to overcome and brings back a reason to keep fighting for success."
The American Advertising Federation, a nonprofit industry association, conducts the ADDY® Awards through its 200 member advertising clubs and 15 districts. It is the only creative awards program administered by the advertising industry for the industry. Selber said there were a total of 145 entries for the VAF's ADDY® Awards competition.
Additionally, AdClub members Moralez and Lozano were named Outstanding Advertising Scholars by the VAF recently and each received a $500 scholarship.
Selber was also honored with two first place medals for her own professional submissions of a business card and special event announcement. Any work which receives a gold medal or special judge's award automatically advances on to the district level. UTPA's two first-place student projects, in addition to Selber's two projects, will advance on to a district competition scheduled for this month.
The new "Latitude's World Cuisine" dining facility is under review by Student Union Director Sam Smith and the Student Union Advisory Board for possible implementation.