SMAD students win silver ADDY award for local co-op’s campaign

Media Arts and Design

SMAD Creative Advertising students Olivia Bolton, Nicole Hatcher and Julia LaFave took home a Silver ADDY award as part of the Western Virginia American Advertising Awards Gala that the American Advertising Federation’s Roanoke, Virginia, chapter held on March 2.

The students’ work for the Friendly City Food Co-op in Harrisonburg won the award in the online/interactive social media campaign category.

Bolton, Hatcher and LaFave created this campaign as part of their SMAD 342: Elements of Creative Advertising class, taught by assistant professor Elisabeth Kvernen. The students had to create a branded content marketing social media campaign for the Friendly City Food Co-op in Harrisonburg, focusing on generating user interaction and engagement. Mackenzie Jenkins, marketing and events manager at the Friendly City Food Co-op, visited the class and asked students to re-imagine the co-op’s New Year’s resolution give-away.

The interactive campaign these students created for the co-op played off the idea of New Year’s resolution vision boards. They asked co-op patrons to create a 2024 vision board (using a template the students had designed), for the chance to be entered to win a themed gift basket. The team provided ideas about how to focus on self-care, sustainability, dry January, reading and nutrition in 2024.

“Creating this project was unlike anything I had done before professor Kvernen’s SMAD 342 class,” LaFave said. “It simultaneously tested my research, strategy, design and collaboration skills.”

Working with community partners offers students an opportunity for hands-on learning in this class, which fits with JMU’s vision of the “engaged university.”

“I often work with local nonprofits or small business for at least one project in SMAD 342, since students are really motivated by the opportunity to meet their client in person, visit the business or organization as part of their research, and to have the chance for their work be used beyond the classroom,” said Kvernen, who has been teaching in SMAD since 2020.

Jenkins said she was thrilled at the opportunity to work with the class to “revamp a stale promotion.”

“Elisabeth made the process simple for me, and I visited the class and presented the materials I had from previous New Years’ Resolution promotions and gave the students freedom to design a new digital campaign,” Jenkins said. “They did not disappoint!”

Students said they enjoyed the chance for their work to be recognized beyond the classroom.

“Our Silver Student ADDY Award from AAF Roanoke is not only a source of reassurance that we have positive futures ahead of us as young creatives, but it is also a testament to the strength of our team dynamic and individual specialties,” LaFave said. “Our constant text messages, routine late nights, and undeniable passion for learning and creating did not go unrecognized. We could not be more thankful to AAF Roanoke! Of course, this project and award would not have been possible without professor Kvernen who we are beyond grateful to for the time and energy she has put towards our growth and success!”

This year the American Advertising Federation of Roanoke’s annual awards competition had 134 professional entries from agencies, firms, in-house creatives and individuals, as well as 67 student entries from Virginia Tech, Liberty University, James Madison University, George Mason University and Radford University. 


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Published: Sunday, March 17, 2024

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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