Super Bowl advertiser Doritos puts students to the test.

By Lindsay Gilbert

The Super Bowl met Super Tuesday in this year’s One Show College Competition. The latest advertising brief was sponsored by iconic snack food Doritos and asked students to capture the essence of the brand, while the design brief asked them to create a poster design for a political or social cause. From over 1,000 entries, 70 students were named finalists in this year’s competition; however, only 12 walked away with Pencils.

From Einstein chip ads to claymation, Doritos-eating dinosaurs, participating students set the bar high for future creatives. The third most popular food brand in the country, after Lay’s and Campbell’s, Doritos has been established as one of the most engaging and unique snacking experiences of its kind. These two ideals came to life when the company partnered with The One Club as the client for this year’s competition. “Doritos has always been about inviting our fans to make the brand their own,” says Rudy Wilson, Director of Marketing for Doritos and one of the Client Pitch Competition judges.

Already in half the households in America, the flavor, crunch and shape of the snack are already well known, so the task was to create advertising that’s iconic as the brand to remind consumers just how awesome Doritos still are. Broken down into categories of Print, Innovative Marketing and Interactive Media, the work that resulted went right along with Doritos’ loud persona, proving the young creatives were ready to play in the Big League. “I think we all walked in expecting to see student work, and what we saw were executions that could go live today. It was exciting. It was students with a passion for Doritos and for new art, and that just blew me away,” says Wilson.

In its fourth year, the Client Pitch Competition took place on Thursday, May 8, giving students who participated in the Doritos brief the opportunity to introduce their ideas to a panel of five creative directors and client executives, including The One Club Board Member Kerri Martin and Doritos’ Rudy Wilson. Of the 10 selected teams who gave live presentations, the pair of Gaurav De and Victoria Weeks from VCU Brandcenter took home the winning scholarship.

Print work was at the forefront of the Doritos brief and overall competition with almost 400 entries, but a close second was the design brief, specifically the Political Poster: Cause/Issues category. This brief allowed students an alternative to working with a specific client and the option to create a political poster centered on a figure or social issue that they identified with closely.

With the purpose to raise awareness and interest, Ronald Cala created a Gold-winning design poster with a message of hope. A simple, powerful image of a boy and girl holding hands forms the serene image of a dove in an effort to promote peace. The Silver Pencil was awarded to Stacy Mann, Harry Knizik and Charles Austin for their work warning the risk of infertility, while Kelly Hanner took home the Bronze for her poster encouraging people to vote.

Also recognized was Austin O’Connor from the University of Colorado at Boulder, who was presented the Patrick Kelly Scholarship, which was started in 1997 by Euro RSCG in union with The One Club to honor the late Patrick Kelly.

While in school, O’Connor served as the Graphic Design Coordinator for the university’s Environmental Center, producing all the facility’s ads and collateral and working toward overall rebranding efforts. O’Connor graduated this spring with a double-degree in Advertising and Fine Arts with an emphasis on digital art and photography, “exchanging creative fuel between the two disparate but related fields,” as he puts it.

“Even though Austin knows a lot about advertising, he's an interesting person, not an ad nerd,” says Brett Robbs, Associate Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “And that's what makes his advertising so fresh. His interest in groundbreaking digital art and photography introduced him and me to new artists who spur ideas that take his work in fresh directions. His fine arts background gives him a love of craft that is reflected in his executions.”

Says O’Connor, “I had some great classes with people who work in the field — Jonathan Schoenberg being one of the most influential examples. Having teachers with real-world experience played a large part in my continued interest in advertising.” He is now doing a post-Graduation internship with Jonathan Schoenberg at TDA Advertising and Design. O’Connor and his peers have learned from the best, and it shows. The professionals aren’t the only ones creating Pencil-worthy work.

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