UT Advertising Graduates Win International Award

AJ Ramirez and Warner Boin, two recent graduates from the Texas Creative Advertising Program, were internationally recognized, in July, for designing a commuter app for major broadcasting corporation BBC.

“What’s cool is that UT had never had any student teams win anything from this international competition,” said Ramirez.

The pair won the Pencil Award at the 2015 New Blood Awards in London, England sponsored by D&AD, an organization that celebrates and challenges the finest in design and advertising. The annual student competition consists of 10 to 12 briefs that are set up through brands or companies looking for innovative ideas.

“In our case, we chose the BBC brief which asked us to develop a user experience that funneled BBC content to young, urban commuters,” added Ramirez.

Ramirez and Boin’s BBC Commuter app was designed to download personalized BBC content for offline-viewing based on a user's daily commute time. Not only does it download multimedia before losing Internet connection, but also prioritizes the type of BBC content the consumer wants to see, such as news, videos and music. Over time, the app learns from its user by collecting ratings and viewership data.

Ramirez explained, “We started putting pieces together and realized that this thing could work specifically for BBC and specifically for young people because BBC is out of London and they have, of course, the London Tube which is this huge network and a huge way people rely on their transportation in the city. Young people really value their screen time so when you are underground and without service you especially see that young people don’t know what to do with themselves.”

Ramirez and Boin credit their Texas Creative courses for challenging them to critically look at every angle of the project. Their aim for the video presentation was to make it consistent with BBC’s branding but give it its own flare.  

“We asked a friend from London to do the narration so that gave it a little extra flare,” said Ramirez. “[The judges] were surprised to see that we were from somewhere as far away as Austin, Texas!”

Boin attended the awards ceremony in London where she was able to meet other recipients and view project entries submitted into the various brief competitions.

“This experience reminded me why I love advertising,” said Boin. “Everyone, from the participants to the judges, was extremely supportive and welcoming!”

Ramirez is currently a junior art director at GSD&M and Boin a junior copywriter at San Francisco-based agency, Swirl. 

Amanda R. Martinez