U of A online TV ad wins highest industry band award

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The Global Campus multimedia production team includes, from left, Luke Gramlich, Karl Northfell, Amy Cooper, Kris Katrosh, Dylan Craig and David Reynolds.

Amy Cooper, Animation Coordinator at U of A Global Campus, thinks the animated TV commercial she produced to promote U of A ONLINE caught the attention of judges at an international competition because of its ability to evoke emotion.

The 30-second ad won a platinum Hermes Creative Award, the highest honor administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals. The association is an international organization of marketing, communications, advertising, public relations, media production, web and freelance professionals.

Global Campus’ media production and marketing and communications teams developed the video ad to recruit more students to the U of A and its academic colleges.

The ad, which features both two-dimensional and three-dimensional animation techniques, won the association’s highest platinum Hermès award in the animation category. The same Global Campus team that produced it supports U of A faculty daily in developing multimedia content for college courses, and the team also won a 2017 Gold Hermès award for a television commercial. .

Cooper said his favorite medium to work with was 2D animation, the same hand-drawn animation found in classic Disney films. The emotions the ad evokes, along with the animation style, combined for the award-winning result.

“Emotionally, I think advertising has an incredible ability to connect with the viewer through the power of animation,” Cooper said. “We start with an eye-catching sweep from the iconic Old Main building, then land on a group of graduates who, within 30 seconds, are energetically transforming from their graduation attire into the career attire of their choosing.”

The ad is fun and exciting, and it encourages viewers to think about their own possibilities, she said.

“What is they or they want to transform after graduating? ” she asked. “Finishing with family before returning to grad also reinforces that ultimately this story is about what’s best for you. This is the human side of what a new career can mean for any individual and their family. When we come back to the graduates, it completes the narrative loop; Right now, students are graduating, celebrating, and throwing their caps, but we’ve just seen what awaits them: a myriad of endless possibilities.

The principles of 2D and 3D animation are the same, Cooper said, except that 2D animation is drawn by hand while in 3D animation the digital sculptures are created and mounted like puppets on strings. The ad includes more than 750 images that Cooper has drawn by hand. However, it was a team effort, she said, with other staff helping with 3D artwork like the windows on Old Main and digitally sculpted mannequins used to see how the plans envisioned by Cooper would work.

The ad also features what Cooper described as magical transitions such as crumpled paper turning into a soccer ball as it flies through the air and a woman in a cap and gown moving seamlessly through a hospital room. wearing her scrubs with a stethoscope. Each scene flows into the next without traditional cuts in the action.

Cooper learned basic drawing skills as an art major at the U of A. After graduating, she went to work at the university’s Tesseract Studio for Immersive Environments and Game Design, where she gained facilitation skills.

At Global Campus, David Reynolds, an animation supervisor with a background in Hollywood productions, nurtured Cooper’s love of storytelling and storyboarding aptitude. Reynolds encouraged Cooper to excel in the storytelling aspect of animation, she said.

Kris Katrosh, director of media production, and Kay Murphy, director of marketing and communications at Global Campus, came up with a basic idea for an animated ad shortly before the U of A temporarily shut down operations on the campus due to COVID-19.

“The heart of this ad shows how a University of Arkansas education transforms lives by displaying graduates in caps and gowns who transform into the professionals they envision themselves to be, Murphy said. “It’s powerful. Kris, Amy, David and the rest of the multimedia production team delivered a final version that exceeded our initial expectations. »

Television stations in Arkansas aired the animated ad for a few months each fall and spring, starting in the spring of 2021. The same ad and 15-second clips taken from it were shown in internet marketing campaigns, which included placements on YouTube, Hulu and Discovery+. Social media also provided a vehicle to share advertising.

The mission of the media production team is to empower faculty members to use innovative teaching strategies that immerse students in learning and help them achieve success. The team helps professors create videos and animations that vividly explain essential and complex course concepts to U of A students.

Along with Katrosh, Reynolds and Cooper, the team includes Jerin Crandell, post-production supervisor; Dylan Craig, Visual Information Architect; Luke Gramlich, Video Project Specialist; Whitney Winkler, Digital Media Editor; and Karl Northfell, visual designer. The Multimedia Production Team is part of Global Campus’s Instructional Design and Support Services Unit, which helps U of A faculty develop courses for all modes of instructional delivery, especially online courses.

Members of the communications team who also contributed to the publicity included Leonard Ridley, web design services manager, and Caroline Chandler, graphic designer and web designer.

The Global Campus provides financial and in-kind support to academic units to launch new online courses and programs, maintain existing ones, and maintain regulatory compliance. It provides support in designing university courses to meet national quality standards, connecting faculty with experts in learning technology, and assisting with recruitment and marketing.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and employment development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the few American colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. US News and World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. Learn how the U of A is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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