In a field of 1150 teams, Isenberg undergraduate Kyle Pandiscio ’19 (Marketing) and Julia Keefe ’17 (BDIC) won first-place honors in the billboard display category in Project Yellow Light, a national advertising competition that promotes safe driving practices. The competition’s high-profile sponsors include AdCouncil, Clear Channel, I Heart Radio, Mazda, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U-Haul, and the National Organizations for Youth Safety. Unveiled on a Times Square billboard on June 7, the winning design by the UMass Amherst duo currently graces more than 1,000 Clear Channel digital billboards across the nation.
Kyle and Julia’s concept, captured in the photo, marshals “auto-correct”-inspired messaging to convey a dire consequence of driving while texting. With no-nonsense clarity, the billboard’s message reminds drivers to self-correct (i.e., eliminate) the potentially fatal habit of texting while driving—auto-correction for auto drivers, if you will.
Kyle and Julia did their prep work and made connections for Project Yellow Light under the aegis of UMass AdLab. With advice and inspiration from AdLab faculty advisor and Isenberg marketing professor Elizabeth Miller, students participating in AdLab develop and execute advertising campaigns on behalf of clients ranging from students clubs and businesses to national corporations and nonprofits.
In April, Kyle was on a team of Isenberg students who placed first in a national field of 222 teams in Kohl’s Invitational Case Competition. The Isenberg team devised an app-based strategy to nudge customers away from their computers and mobile devices into Kohl’s stores. “At Isenberg, we have a strong track record of enabling and encouraging students to apply their skills in national competitions,” notes Marketing department chair Bruce Weinberg. “When you combine that with our students’ drive and the school’s premium on teamwork, it’s no surprise to see exceptional results like these.”