Last week in Paris three Brigham Young University advertising majors were awarded "Best Communication Campaign" by the CEO of the world's 4th-largest advertising and communications company in the annual Brandstorm marketing competition sponsored by L'Oreal. The team from the university's Ad Lab faced the top advertising students from 35 countries.
Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis Groupe, honored BYU team members Jamie Bond, Zack Tolbert and Stanton Jones and Ad Lab faculty advisor Jeff Sheets. The group represented the United States after defeating more than 200 teams from the top advertising programs in the nation in the national Brandstorm in New York earlier this year. L'Oréal executives picked national champions after hearing presentations for international marketing plans for Redken For Men, L'Oréal's line of men's hair care products and services.
"Winning in New York definitely opened up opportunities for us," said Jones, who, along with Bond, landed a New York L'Oréal internship on a global marketing team. They are involved in photo shoots, casting models and strategic planning. Tolbert has accepted an offer of a full-time marketing position with L'Oréal's Luxury Products Division.
Such outcomes are the design of L'Oréal's program, which, in addition to serving as an outlet for college student creativity, doubles as a recruiting tool.
"Team CRUX from Brigham Young University really blew us away in the L'Oréal Brandstorm competition this year," said Francois de Wazieres, Vice President, Corporate Strategic Recruitment, L'Oréal USA. "Team CRUX's energy, passion and drive tied with their strong background in advertising led them to take this year's U.S. competition."
The BYU team admits they found no fast track to victory; they attribute most of their success to creativity, hard work and their experiences at BYU.
"One of the group's biggest strengths was their creativity," said Jeff Sheets, the team's faculty advisor. "They took an unconventional approach to every phase of the competition and it really paid off."
One such approach involved taking female advertising professionals from Publicis Groupe, the advertising agency representing L'Oréal, into an empty men's restroom, illustrating the uncomfortable feeling most men experience upon entering a beauty salon. Some of the team's other unique approaches included designing a 3-D model of the ideal salon that would appeal to men. They also recommended adding natural ingredients that help prevent hair loss to Redken For Men products and designing a sink that shoots follicle-stimulating lasers onto a man's scalp as a stylist washes his hair.
A quick glance at the team's Paris itinerary reveals one of their other strengths: a commitment to hard work.
"I actually think living the BYU standards really contributed to our success," Tolbert said. "Most of the other college teams would get all excited about being in a big city, and so they go out to party and enjoy the nightlife; but we just stayed in our hotel, resting and making sure we were extra prepared for the competition."
Although they arrived in Paris on a Tuesday morning, the City of Lights planned to wait until after the competition concluded on Friday for tourism - until then, the only sights the BYU team would see were inside hotel meeting rooms. The trio planned to perfect their presentation through repeated rehearsals before they confronted the first panel of judges on Thursday morning.
"Rehearsing the presentation over and over again is just not fun," added Tolbert, who will soon graduate from BYU's advertising program. "But we plan to bear down and push through it until we can present it flawlessly."
L'Oreal CEO Jean-Paul Agon headed the competition's panel of judges, which included several other marketing professionals.
The team cites some of the unique opportunities they've enjoyed at BYU as advantages in the competition.
"We applied just about everything we've learned in classes to this competition in one way or another," said Jones, who will be a senior this fall. "All three of us have also worked in BYU's Ad Lab, a student-run ad agency, which really is a unique experience for a group of college students."
Writer: Blake Ferguson