Facing graduation, I am excited to close yet another chapter in my story. After completing my Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies at the University of Calgary, I spent the summer travelling through parts of Canada and Europe. While wandering through the London neighbourhood of Spitalfields, my brother and I stumbled across a brightly coloured wall. We weren’t sure what it was and our curiosity got the better of us. As we walked closer, we realized that the wall was made of silken green, yellow and, blue ribbons. For the rest of the world, Summer 2014 was a big deal because of the Rio World Cup and in a football (soccer to North Americans) country like England, everyone was watching.
To celebrate the World Cup, Wieden + Kennedy London created a display that featured “3000 traditional Brazilian ‘Senhor de Bonfim de Bahia’ wish ribbons with a sporty twist arranged to spell ‘football’ in Portuguese, with each ribbon carrying the wish of a football fan or a reaction to the latest drama on the pitch”. My brother and I stopped at the wall to read through and find a wish ribbon that matched our thoughts. I didn’t know it then but this display sparked a curiosity and passion for advertising. Throughout the rest of the summer, I watched the ads between games almost as intently as the games themselves.
Video Copyright: Wieden + Kennedy London
Three summers later, I find myself a month away from graduating with my Master’s in Advertising. In Professor Sheehan’s Digital Branding and Strategy class, we’ve continuously talked about putting the consumer at the center of everything. We talk about how we need to provide consumers with something of value that they will talk about and share. The World Cup window was a different way to connect with the action on the pitch. It wasn’t selling people anything, but it encouraged them to share and talk about the World Cup through a different lens. What you will learn here at Newhouse is that advertising is not some dark, evil art. It speaks to and tells outsiders a lot about a culture’s values. You will have the opportunity to work with real-world clients, learn from the best and meet some of the most influential people in the business.
Like the Senhor de Bonfim de Bahia ribbons, I’m hoping to help create advertising that is strategic, memorable and most importantly, human. Oh, by the way, I still have my yellow “I wish I was taller so I could see the TV” Senhor de Bonfim de Bahia ribbon.