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Student wins gold at nation’s largest advertising competition

Richard Funes, a student in the University of North Texas’ College of Visual Arts and Design, won a gold American Advertising Award, or Addy, at the 2015 American Advertising Awards national competition in Las Vegas for his mock ad campaign for Fix-a-Flat, a tire sealant company.

The American Advertising Awards is the nation’s largest advertising competition, receiving more than 40,000 entries every year. Participants must advance through local and district level competitions in order to qualify for the national competition.

Ricky Funes with his parentsFunes, pictured with his parents at right, is majoring in communication design with a focus in art direction. He also won gold and best of show at the local level and silver at the district level with his Fix-a-Flat ad campaign, which can be viewed here. It shows the logos of car companies modified to mimic flat tires or the frustration drivers get when they have a flat tire – for example, the mascot in the SAAB logo is crying and the car in a Hummer logo is leaning on one flat tire with the word “Bummer” underneath.

“The real honor for me is in the people that have supported me,” Funes said. “The awards are almost like a thank you to all the teachers I’ve had in the past. I want to give these awards to my teachers, friends and family because they’re the ones that deserve it.”

Funes created the ad campaign for an art direction class he took last fall. In the class, students create a mock ad campaigns for real companies. They begin with around 50 ideas and slowly narrow them down to the one that “is simple enough to communicate on a large scale, but complex enough to be interesting and effective,” according to Funes.

“You have an idea that is like a seed that could germinate and become something new,” Funes said about his creative process. “You just have to be open to the possibility of an idea coming to fruition. Then, you really work out the bugs and see how far your ideas go.”

Mark Allen, a lecturer at the College of Visual Arts and Design, was Funes’ professor in the art direction class. Allen works with his students on their ad campaigns throughout the semester, critiquing their work and helping them arrive at the best idea.

“Sometimes, when you see a campaign slowly evolve over the course of a semester, it can become so familiar that you’re not able to see the same things as an outsider,” Allen said. “So, it’s nice when students receive recognition for their work outside of the class because it validates what we do on a daily basis.”

At last year’s American Advertising Awards ceremony, another communication design student at UNT, Shelby Tamura, won a silver ADDY at the national level. Allen credits the success of communication design students at UNT to the program’s history of strong teachers, the students’ fierce work ethic and a culture that allows creativity to thrive.

“The UNT art direction program has always emphasized strategy and big ideas, not just production value,” Allen said. “It’s not enough to be slick and polished. For a student’s work to be recognized at this level as truly exceptional, it has to be smart and original, with a great deal of conceptual thinking behind it.”

Allen said Funes’ awards will look attractive on résumés to employers, but what will really back them up is his portfolio and talent.

Funes currently works at the Dallas branch of Tracy Locke, a national advertising company. He plans on doing mission work abroad after he graduates in May, and hopes to find a career in motion graphics upon his return from that work.

—Caleb Downs, UNT News Service

(Courtesy Photo)

Posted on: Tue 14 July 2015

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