Missouri School of Journalism students win 40 American Advertising Awards, will move on to regional competition

Team Olio:

Team Olio. L-R: Top: Tess Murray, Nickolas Pappas, Kieran Malloy, Sydney Marino, Brad Turner, Jared Fisch;
Bottom: Claudia LeSage, Rachel Schwartz, Trent Tarantino, Camile Baker, Katrina Troy

By Austin Fitzgerald

COLUMBIA, Mo. (March 1, 2023) — Students at the University of Missouri have won a total of 40 awards in the American Advertising Federation’s 2022-23 American Advertising Awards, easily surpassing the school’s total of 27 awards in the last five years combined.

“Our strategic communication students’ strong showing this year is a striking display of the School of Journalism’s commitment to excellence,” said David Kurpius, dean of the School. “Our students, faculty and staff are not content to meet last year’s standard: they want to raise the bar higher. That is the power of learning by doing under the Missouri Method.”

With honors for work ranging from art direction and design to copywriting and marketing plans, the winning students are set to advance to the district competition, where they will compete for a spot in the national finals.

“This was truly a record-breaking year for our program with 40 awards,” said Jon Stemmle, a professor of strategic communication and co-director of MOJO Ad, the School of Journalism’s student-staffed ad agency covering the youth and young adult market. “It’s just another demonstration of the amazing work that our students create year after year and the dedication of our faculty to push them to produce elite work.”

A majority of the awards recognized work from student teams in MOJO Ad, which serves as a capstone course for seniors studying strategic communication.

Intertwined in Denim: MOJO Ad annual State of the Yaya report
MOJO Ad annual State of the Yaya report

“There were so many late nights and early-morning coffee runs that wouldn’t have been possible without everyone giving their whole selves into the project,” said Katrina Troy, art director for MOJO Ad’s Team Olio, which won 12 awards (including five for art direction) for its contributions to the agency’s annual State of the YAYA report. “We’re so gratef/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/MOJO-Ad-State-of-the-Yaya.pngul for these awards, and there was an entire community of incredible faculty and management staff behind us that made it all possible.”

Troy graduated last May and now works in New York City as a junior creative strategist at CSM Sport and Entertainment, a global marketing agency. The job sprung from an internship she landed at the agency between her junior and senior years, and she has found that the School’s hands-on, Missouri Method approach to education continues to pay dividends now that she has transitioned into the professional world.

“The way that I ask questions and think about how to approach a creative project totally comes from my time at MOJO Ad and the J-School,” she added. “Leading a project, knowing what the deliverables are, managing a timeline, communication — some of those skills that are hard to measure, I picked them up from MOJO.”

SkullCandy Sour Patch Kids

Another batch of awards went to MOJO Ad’s creation of marketing campaign plans and materials for Sour Patch Kids, including nods for cinematography, direct marketing and art direction. Lily Williams, who served as account manager for Team Mirus during the 2022 fall semester, found the process of building a campaign from the ground up to be immensely satisfying.

“It’s fantastic to see that what started as a simple strategy has become a full creative campaign that is getting nominated for awards,” Williams said, referring to her team’s “Snap Outta Sour” campaign, which aimed to position the brand as a helpful sidekick bringing the audience back to reality in moments when life seems overwhelming.

Like Troy, Williams — who is currently enrolled in the School’s accelerated master’s program — sees a direct link between her future career and the experience she gained at MOJO Ad. She hopes to become an account manager at a public relations firm, a role she has relished during her time at MOJO Ad for the opportunity to help pull various projects and information together into a cohesive campaign.

Williams and Troy both credited MOJO Ad co-directors Stemmle and Jamie Flink, as well as associate professors Frank Corridori and Brad Best, for creating a supportive but rigorous environment that helped students produce their best work.

Solo style

In addition to the awards for MOJO Ad teams, several of this year’s awards went to individual submissions from School of Journalism students. Seniors and MOJO students Delaney Ehrhardt and Emily Williams earned an award for copywriting, while senior Annabelle Cook won five awards for an advertising campaign she created for Corridori’s visual design course.

Given her goal of ultimately working in the fashion industry, Cook chose to create a campaign for Rent the Runway, an e-commerce platform that rents and sells designer clothing. She noted that Corridori’s class not only helped her produce award-winning work but allowed her to develop skills that will be crucial in the team-oriented world of advertising agencies — a world she hopes to join as an art director.

“Every class, you have to be very creatively vulnerable in putting your work on the screen and hearing everyone else’s thoughts for improvement,” Cook said. “It’s made me a lot more comfortable with people seeing my creative process rather than just seeing my end results.”

Cook’s main campaign for Rent the Runway centered on a youthful and nostalgic approach to fashion, and her flair for having fun with a concept with will also be on display this weekend, when she will wear a dress from Rent the Runway to the awards gala in Kansas City that will tell students whether they won silver or gold awards.

But regardless of the specific honors they receive, the students have already come away with experiences and work products that will have lasting impacts on their academic and professional careers.

“I knew that I wanted to eventually move to New York City and that Mizzou was the best education to get me there,” Troy said. “That has totally rung true with where I am in my life and career right now.”

Updated: March 1, 2023

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