The creativity of two groups of students at The University of Texas-Pan American gained international recognition recently when presented a gold and two silver awards in the 2008 Summit Creative Awards (SCA) competition.
The 2006-2007 edition of the Panorama, UTPA's student-produced annual literary magazine/yearbook, captured the gold while the University's 2006-2007 National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team, comprised of students primarily from the departments of communication (advertising/public relations), art and marketing won the two silver awards - one for a set of three 30-second commercials and the other for an overall integrated marketing campaign, both developed for product icon Coca-Cola.
Judged by representatives from top creative agencies, the SCA awards recognize and celebrate accomplishments of small and medium-sized advertising agencies and other creative groups worldwide with annual billings of $30 million or less. The UTPA entries were submitted in the student category.
The Panorama is a 100-plus page magazine that showcases not only student organizations, events and people on campus but also includes stories reflecting current issues and people in the community. It also includes student artwork and photography, poetry and prose.
The Panorama staff is advised by faculty members Donna Pazdera, journalism lecturer, and Dr. Kimberly Selber, assistant professor journalism-advertising. Key staff members for the 2006-2007 edition of Panorama were Trey Serna, editor-in-chief; Christopher Ramirez, design editor; Daniel Flores, photo editor; and Ana Flores, copy editor.
Taking the judges' critiques to heart from past competitions has resulted in improved quality and an increase in awards and recognition for the Panorama said Selber, who also praised the talent and dedication of the staff.
"We have a team of extremely talented students who are driven, inspired and dedicated about the work. They have done research on good design and brought work to the table and revised and refined until we all said 'Yep, that's it,'" she said, noting "they left their egos at the door" in accepting feedback from colleagues and advisers.
The award-winning NSAC team, also advised by Selber, first formed to compete in the AAF's National Student Advertising Competition at the regional level, where the Coca-Cola campaign placed sixth, missing fourth place by .5 out of 100 points. UTPA's advertising team competed regionally against those from 17 other universities and colleges, including The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University.
In the local ADDY competition, also sponsored by the Rio Grande Valley Chapter of AAF, the Coca-Cola commercials won a gold ADDY award and the campaign a silver ADDY.
UTPA senior Jimmy Aguilar, a current UTPA Ad Club president and a 2006-2007 NSAC team member, said the team approach to the campaign started with separate departments - a creative department, a media department and account executives, for example - whose members all came together with their ideas to form one cohesive campaign.
Besides the pleasure of having your work recognized with an award in international competition, Aguilar, who is also a member of the 2007-2008 NSAC team, said participation on the team provides a valuable opportunity to apply skills and knowledge learned in the classroom.
"The NSAC experience has given me the real-world experience that is better preparing me for life in the advertising world," said Aguilar, who will graduate July 2008 with a major in journalism in the advertising/public relations track.
The 2006-2007 NSAC team was captained by Shawn Tichnell, who graduated May 2007 with a communication degree in advertising/public relations. The integrated campaign included collateral material such as installation and points of purchase and direct mail ads. Selber said the entire department of communication faculty joined in to critique and support the project.
"The film faculty came in on the weekends so the students could edit; the theatre faculty helped with supplies for props; and the communication studies faculty helped with presentation tips," she said.
The winning ads, titled "Transformation," "Time Travel," and "Grab It" can be viewed by going to www.YouTube.com and typing in UTPA Coca-Cola.
The Summit International Awards organization which administers the SCA awards has established itself over its 14-year history as one of the premier arbiters of creative and communication excellence. Competitors from more than 25 countries and five continents participate in the awards program.
For more information on the Panorama or the UTPA NSAC team, contact Selber at 956/381-2541.