COM Celebrates Finalists in Prestigious Ad Competition

The One Show Young Ones Awards recently announced its finalists–and five BU COM teams made the list.

Developing Story: Congratulations to Sadie Devane and Jackie Wu for taking home a silver pencil, and to Nihal Atawane and Kara O’Hearn for taking home a bronze pencil!

BU’s Nominated Pairs (and their COM professors):

Sophie Lindemann and Tiffany Zhi (CM 437, Professor Boches)

Kara O’Hearn and Nihal Atawane (CM 753, Professor Ryan)

Ghewa Taha and Shunyi “Eileen” Yu (CM 753, Professor Ryan)

Yaluan “Cindy” Song and Natalia Jaroszek (CM 753, Professor Ryan)

Sadie Devane and You “Jackie” Wu (CM 753, Professor Boches)

Every year, thousands of advertising and design students submit entries to the Young Ones Student Awards to earn a pencil–one of the industry’s highest honors. This year, Boston University’s College of Communication has five teams who have been recognized as finalists in the competition. This is the best performance by COM in the history of The One Show, which highlights work of the world’s most influential programs. The awards ceremony will be held in New York City during the One Show’s Creative Week.

“This is three more finalists than our previous best, a significant achievement for our students and increased visibility for the creative side of our advertising program,” Professor Edward Boches said. “A finalist guarantees publication in the beautifully hardbound annual, kept on bookshelves of ad agencies around the world; inclusion in the exhibit at The One Show in NYC in May; and eligibility to win a prized gold, silver or bronze pencil — the Oscars of advertising.”

Each year, competitors must create their ads to fit into a larger theme. “This year’s call was to confront the opioid problem in the U.S. by working to increase awareness and reduce the stigma attached to addiction,” Boches said.

Each brief is tailored to a different audience and medium, such as print or out of home.


Sophie and Tiffany

Category: Social Brief

Medium: Print

Title: Opioid Addiction and the Fairy Tale Ending

What does winning this award as an undergraduate mean to you?

“Winning an award of this level, as an undergraduate just starting out in the industry, is not only a huge honor, but also mostly is just a huge affirmation to myself–that I have chosen the correct path to pursue professionally post-graduation,” Sophie said. “I have always loved art and writing (really anything creative), and to realize that it’s possible to make that passion into a career, and now to realize that I can be successful within that career, is a big personal accomplishment. On the flip side, it also means that I’ve set myself a pretty high bar! So to be a One Show Young Ones finalist is not only an honor, but also a new standard to hold myself to for everything I create here on out both professionally and personally.”


Finalists: Sophie Lindemann and Tiffany Xi

Finalists: Sophie Lindemann and Tiffany Zhi


Kara and Nihal

Category: Social Brief

Medium: Experiential

Title: Message in A Bottle

What was the inspiration behind this ad?

“We knew we wanted to target people at pharmacies, because that is often their first encounter with opioids. So we wanted to target from the start, right when you get the prescription,” Kara said. “From there, we thought it should be about having a conversation. It’s about an addict or a loved one being real and communicating with a new user about the consequences.”

Finalists: Kara O’Hearn and Nihal Atawane

Cindy and Natalia

Category: Social Brief

Medium: Outdoor

Title: The Last Stop

“The Last Stop is an out-of-home campaign that shows the path to opioid addiction through the theme of a journey,” Cindy said. “We present stories of individuals who have plans, goals and dreams–just like all of us do. What ties these journeys together is also what ends them: the misuse of prescribed medicine, the opioid addiction, and ultimately the overdose–all of which is often as close as just a few pills away. The campaign would be placed in subway stations, since its visuals closely resemble actual subway maps.”

What was different about your process when making this ad?

“Putting this ad together felt different because unlike others we worked on before, an issue portrayed in this project currently affects a large number of people,” Natalia said. “There was a sense of urgency and realness that came with it. I believe our goal was to give this problem a human face. We wanted to bring it to life in a way that those not affected by this issue or currently struggling with it could see the many different aspects of the opioid addiction.”

“I think what makes putting this campaign together different than other projects is the pressure of making something really stand out yet simple,” Cindy said. “First of all, it is, as Natalia mentioned, a campaign for a serious social issue that affects so many in this country. The death rate of opioid overuse right now is even higher than the death rate of the car accidents, for example. But not many people know that. These facts thus made us feel that we are responsible to make ads really strong to let people aware the severity of such invisible danger.”

“But then we faced problems about how to articulate the story simple enough,” Cindy added, “since the opioid abuse, unlike other brand campaigns, is such a complex topic. We once had a hard time choosing an aspect of it to its severity, and we got stuck on it for quite a while. But then we found an opioid abuse testimonial website. Many people posted their true stories of being overdosed, and these stories moved us so much.”

Finalists: Natalia Jaroszek and Cindy Song


Sadie and Jackie

Category: Social Brief

Medium: Print

Title: Same Day

“The aim of our project is to help people understand that the opioid epidemic in the U.S. is a vast, equal-opportunity crisis,” said Sadie. “We tapped into the insight that people care deeply about their heroes. Our audience mourns the tragic deaths of world-famous celebrities (Prince, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Petty… the list goes on), but they may have little sense of the greater nationwide loss. On average, a staggering 115 people die from opioid overdose in this country every day. So, we are leveraging these big names to help to make people aware of the true significance of this problem.”

If this ad were used, what kind of difference would you want it to make?

“If our campaign was put out into the world, we would want it to make our audience realize that this epidemic is far bigger than the few celebrity deaths they know about,” continued Sadie. “It’s affecting everyone. We would want it to get people to educate themselves both on the impact this problem is having on our society, and on what they can do to prevent it.”

Finalists: Sadie Devane and Jackie Wu

Ghewa and Shunyi

Category: Social Brief

Medium: Print

Title: Vows

What does earning the honor mean to you?

“Winning this award was very unexpected. My partner Eileen texted me with the news around 1 a.m.,” said Ghewa. “I was on my third cup of coffee working on a project, so it came at a perfect time. As we submitted the project in early March, we had forgotten about it and weren’t really looking out for the results. Having our hard work appreciated certainly gave me a sense of achievement and a great motivation boost to further advance my career objectives. At this early stage of my career, this award could be the stepping stone to greater achievements in the future.”

How was the process of putting this campaign together?

“The process of putting it together was vigorous,” Ghewa said. “We started from an underdeveloped idea and kept on critiquing it, developing it, then polishing it till we came up with the final result,” Shewa said. “We kept working and improving the campaign till the last day of submissions. It got exhausting at some points, but we lifted each other up and stayed motivated throughout. That’s the best part of working in a team. This experience taught me how to approach developing a campaign under pressure and within a limited time frame.”

Eileen Yu and Ghewa Taha

“It’s really hard to do work that is unique, compelling, creative, simple, clear – and on strategy,” Professor Pegeen Ryan said. “But when you do, that’s what is recognized by judges in this type of creative award show. The ideas have to be fresh, modern, easy to understand and memorable.”

While many advertising students boast of awards won at shows small and large, winning an award at The One Show is an accomplishment unrivaled by many. Similarly, this is not only a major feat for the students, but also for COM.

“Being a finalist in a show this important and well known in the industry is an amazing thing to be able to showcase in your portfolio and put on your resume,” Ryan said. “It says our students can compete and win on a global stage. You are on a short list of finalists from schools like Miami Ad School, Creative Circus, and SCAD–and ones as far away as Stockholm and Milan.”




Alex Villanueva, Senior Editor

Alex Villanueva is a second semester M.S. candidate from Plattsburgh, NY. He earned a B.A. in history and political science from the University of Illinois. Alex looks forward to a career in nonprofit PR, focusing on higher education or political communications.

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