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BYU Ad Lab wins national L'Oreal Brandstorm Competition

Team will travel to Paris in June for the international competition

The Brigham Young University Ad Lab has won the national finals of the L'Oreal Brandstorm competition for the second year in a row.

A team of Ad Lab students, Blake Hadley, Matt Miller and Monica McGhie, were named national winners Friday, April 11, in New York and will now compete this June in the international finals in Paris. The BYU team also won "Best Communications Campaign" in the contest.

"Everybody that competed had such great presentations, it was a big surprise for us to win both awards,"Hadley said. "We're excited to compete against teams from 39 countries in the international competition. It's going to be neat to see all of the different cultures working on the same project."

The Brandstorm competition gives undergraduate students the opportunity to take on the role of brand manager and revamp one of L'Oreal's signature product lines. This year's case study is Vichy Capital Soleil, a line of sun care products for women, men and children. Students were asked to develop an international brand strategy and a marketing campaign for the Vichy Capital Soleil line.

Two BYU Ad Lab teams made it to the national finals this year and competed against teams from New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Austin.

The other BYU student team was made up of Hailey Holt, Seth Atkisson and Jordan Edwards. It was the first time that one university placed two finalists in the prestigious event.

"We have an excellent opportunity to go to Paris and win the whole thing," said faculty adviser Jeff Sheets, director of BYU's Ad lab.

More than 200 colleges competed in the preliminary rounds of this year's contest.

Thanks to BYU's impressive run last year, L'Oreal's marketing team made BYU a partner school for this year's contest and visited the Provo campus last fall to pick a BYU team for the finals. L'Oreal representatives were so impressed with the quality of the BYU teams they picked both a winner and an alternate - and both teams ended up making the final five.

"The L'Oreal competition has been a great example of my whole BYU education:We get to work on high-profile projects and learn from professionals in the industry," Atkisson said. "I don't think I would get as many chances to work with this caliber of client at other schools."

During Friday's competition, the teams presented 15-minute highlight reels showcasing their branding, packaging and marketing campaigns. A panel made up of corporate executives judged the five finalists.

The competition also provided students a spotlight for job recruitment. Holt and Miller have already been offered internships with L'Oreal to begin later this year. All three members of BYU's 2007 team have accepted job offers with L'Oreal.

To date, a total of 27,000 students from more than 470 schools and 39 countries have participated in the L'Oreal Brandstorm competition. The event is in its 16th year.

"Brandstorm is a truly unique opportunity for students to put to use what they've studied in their marketing courses," says Diane Lewis, Vice President, L'Oréal USA Talent Recruitment. "We have been truly impressed with the teams competing in the 2008 U.S. National finals."

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