Who Strategized KFC's Napkinized? BICster Maxime Menant.


In the Middle East, KFC is a favorite restaurant amongst family and friends. But how do you inject fresh meaning into the brand's recognizable positioning line "finger lickin' good"? Maxime Menant, BIC '15, to the rescue! As Strategic Planning Director at TBWA\RAAD, Maxime was the strategic driver behind KFC's newly launched "Napkinized" campaign which transformed the chain's menus, receipts, placemats, and bags into napkins so customers could enjoy eating with their hands more easily. The campaign was so notable, it was a recent Editor's Pick in AdAge.

As Strategic Planning Director on the KFC account at TBWA\RAAD in the Middle Eastern North African (MENA) region, Maxime found inspiration from audience research. He learned that there was a lack of understanding and relevancy for their Middle eastern audience when it came to the brand's “finger lickin’ good” slogan. Coined by a KFC manager in the 1950's and considered one of the greatest advertising slogans of all time, this iconic line wasn't quite resonating with consumers in the region who considered it purely descriptive.


To activate KFC's slogan (and in true TBWA disruptive fashion), the agency decided to create a fast food eating environment that dramatized the urgent necessity of napkins when you eat food that is "finger lickin' good."  Nearly everything made out of paper -- from menus to placemats -- could also be used as napkins. After weeks of development in partnership with suppliers, Maxime and his team produced a special ink-resistant tissue paper, strong enough to wipe customers' face, hands, and fingers, but thin enough to get printed with chemical free ink. New menus, food bags, posters, flyers, placemats and even receipts were created from the special ink-resistant, eco-friendly, bio-degradable tissue paper, proving that all you really need to fully enjoy its delicious food are your fingers and a craving for Kentucky Fried Chicken.


Since the debut of 'Napkinized' in January 2020, over 7,000 customers have enjoyed the new restaurants in Dubai and Beirut. The online and on-ground engagement around 'Napkinized' surpassed expectations. KFC plans to expand their 'Napkinization' to the MENA region and will eventually roll out to 87 of their restaurants in the UAE and Lebanon.

Maxime Menant was in the inaugural BIC Class of 2015. While in the program, he secured a planning position at DDB as well as won the Most Culturally Relevant Strategy in the Griffin Farley Beautiful Minds competition in the summer of 2014.


BIC's Spring Open House: Inspiration for the Curious-Minded


On Tuesday, March 3rd, BIC held its Spring Open House in Shepard Hall. Despite the gloomy weather, an enthusiastic group filled the room for a presentation by Program Director Nancy R. Tag which included information on the program, life as a BICster, and application tips. Potential admissions candidates peppered Professor Tag with questions about submission guidelines, the acceptance rate, and even on Any Wednesday,* the book handed out to all Open House attendees.

Immediately following, students interested in the Creative Track were treated to a portfolio presentation and one-on-one reviews by Professor Gerardo Blumenkrantz, who oversees the track.

Others sat in on Consumer Behavior and Persuasion, the BIC course taught by Michael Doody whose main learning objective is to help BICsters understand what makes humans tick so they can develop a toolkit that empowers them become persuasive communicators who can impact behavior in meaningful ways.

Open House attendees were also given a 10% discount for awesome Italian food at our favorite neighborhood restaurant, Fumo, on Amsterdam Avenue. Hopefully, everyone left Hamilton Heights with their questions answered, minds stimulated -- and bellies full!

For those interested in taking the leap and supercharging their careers, we invite you to master UP at BIC - the only grad program to teach Branding + Integrated Communications in an integrated way.  Here’s how it works:

Enter curious.

From there, consider some questions: How do brands work? What is communication's role in building identity? In what ways are emerging technologies shaping our understanding of the world we live in? Is it possible to make new connections and develop ideas in ways that will positively impact the future?

Study. Research. Think. Collaborate. Create.

Leave with a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) and a portfolio. Real proof that you're no longer just curious; you've got credentials.

BICsters aren't just multi-talented, multi-cultural, and cross-disciplinary, but most are working professionals. Our classes are all held at night so you can come straight from work -- ask your boss about tuition reimbursement.

With an MPS in hand, BIC alums have snagged positions at Google, VaynerMedia, IBM, Apple, Droga5, The NAACP, TBWA, BBDO, Ketchum, SS+K, BCW, Rabin Martin, Circle Line, 360i, Fenton, GREY, DDB, RooneyPartners, Tribal, SAP, Nestle, Ogilvy, VMLY&R, etc. In the six years since BIC launched, our grad students have been named ADCOLOR Future honorees, LAGRANT scholars, MAIP winners, and ONE Club Pencil awardees.

And imagine this: a BIC MASTER's degree allows you to study (and work) in New York City for a total in-state tuition cost of only $30,000 (around $39,000 out-of-state).

The application deadline is April 1st. Click here for graduate admissions. EZ step-by-step instructions on how to apply >> Your ENROLLMENT INFORMATION is Matriculation. The SCHOOL OF INTEREST is College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  Your AREA OF INTEREST is Branding + Integrated Communications. Your ENROLLMENT OBJECTIVE is MPS. And the ENTRY TERM is Fall 2020.

And if you didn't make it to the Open House and still have questions, send us an email at bic@ccny.cuny.edu.  Have a great Spring, everyone!!



*Any Wednesday is a book of wisdom from advertising legend Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide, based on weekly memos that he'd circulate to his global agency filled with a single piece of wisdom or insight about advertising, business, life, and other things. Thanks for asking (and answering), Venisha Henry!!

-->

BIC Professor Bjorn Trowery Lands Position at Facebook Headquarters



BIC Adjunct Professor Bjorn Trowery, who teaches B3022 PR Branding Campaigns, will be heading to the West Coast to become Consumer Communications Manager at Facebook HQ. As a key player, he'll be part of a team driving Facebook’s consumer and brand communications across their entire network and platforms including Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and Workplace. This involves leading the day-to-day PR and media engagement campaigns, working on reactive, executing relevant partnerships and leading core storytelling to the 2.7 billion people in their global community who use Facebook and their products everyday. 

Congratulations on your new position, Bjorn!

BIC's Sandra Stahl Talks Global PR with Communications Students in Mumbai


The distance between up-and-coming PR professionals in New York City and Mumbai just got much smaller. Last week, founding BIC faculty member Sandra Stahl travelled to Xavier Institute of Communications as a guest lecturer to share global trends in PR.

Xavier Institute of Communications (XIC) is a top communications program in India and recognized as where “the best of the best agencies” come to recruit. The XIC program looks at communications in an integrated manner where different elements need to be considered and consolidated for maximum impact.

Sandra led an engaging and interactive conversation with 50+ students and selected faculty. Her award-winning book, The Art & Craft of PR, has been on the recommended reading list for XIC students since last year and many were keen to ask questions and have their copies signed.



“What a pleasure it was to speak to these students who have been trained to approach PR as part of an integrated framework, similar to BIC students,” said Sandra. “The future of PR in India is bright indeed and the group coming out of XIC today is vocal, opinionated, curious and ready to make their mark as the next PR leaders.” 

Sandra focused her lecture on the critical role of communications for brands and companies that aim to be ‘purpose-driven.” While a noble goal and considered a must-have by Millennials and Gen Z, “purpose” can be complicated. She emphasized why and how PR can uniquely guide brands in navigating their way from narrative to execution.  

Co-founder of jacobstahl, a full-service PR agency, Sandra is a founding faculty at BIC and teaches the Branding Influentials course. She guest lectures frequently at schools and conferences around the world. The Art & Craft of PR has won numerous awards since publication in 2018 and is on the BookAuthority 21 Best New Public Relations Books to Read in 2020. 

BICsters Tackle Non-Alcoholic Spirit for Diageo


For the past two years, BIC has partnered with Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits and beer. Headquartered in London, Diageo produces over 200 brands – old and new, large and small, global and local – that are enjoyed in more than 180 countries around the world. Diageo’s established brands include Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, Captain Morgan and Guinness. This Spring, BIC is working with Diageo once again, but this time for something completely different. Kicking off 2020, the Corporate Capstone class is taking on Diageo's first non-alcoholic distilled spirit, Seedlip. 

A recent Diageo acquisition, Seedlip is not just non-alcoholic, but a new category for the company -- as it is for most of the industry. Seedlip presents a unique set of challenges in the marketplace. While non-alcoholic, Seedlip is also zero calories, sugarless, and sweetener-free with no artificial flavors. Diageo is looking to BICsters to help Seedlip stand out from their usual crowd of alcoholic beverage brands by disrupting the traditional marketing model through drivers that resonate with today’s consumer. These combined characteristics make for an even more compelling communications challenge.

On February 6th, the Diageo team of Olivia Kupfer, Senior Brand Manager, Kristina Knight, Senior Innovation Manger, and Jason Chebib, VP of Consumer Planning, presented the brief to the entire class and took questions from students. Over the course of the semester, BICsters will dive deeply into market research to uncover insights that will drive strategic communications solutions that push Seedlip’s brand positioning, “What to drink when you’re not drinking.” Diageo will return to campus on May 14th for the client pitch when teams present their campaigns. 

Each Spring semester, the BIC Corporate Capstone is led by BIC Professor and Program Director Nancy R. Tag who divides students into separate communications teams to fulfill the brief of a corporate client. Past clients have been Univision, Universal Music Group, and Heineken. In the Fall semester, BICsters focus on a non-profit organization. This year, they worked on behalf of CUNY Arts to elevate the low brand awareness of this CUNY initiative which offers student passes to places such as MoMA and the Whitney, internships at arts organizations, and curricular development to CUNY faculty to insure that arts education is woven into classroom programming. Past non-profit clients have been Sandy Hook Promise, the UJA, and Columbia Children's Hospital

BIC's 4A's MAIP Finalists



The highly selective Multi-cultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) from the 4A's gives students the opportunity to work at prestigious advertising and public relations agencies on various accounts, interact with industry professionals on a day-to-day basis, and gain valuable professional credentials. This year, three bright BICsters, Ping Sun, Roxie Xie and Surabhi Govindarajan have been chosen as the 4A's MAIP finalists.

First year BICster Ping Sun comes to BIC with experience at Condé Nast's Center of Fashion & Design in Shanghai. In addition, Ping has worked at various positions at Shanghai's Ford Motor Company where she gained first-hand knowledge into the power of marketing and PR. These experiences "truly crystallized her passion" for continuing her studies in branding and integrated communications at City College.

Roxie Xie, BIC Class of 2020, is a repeat MAIPster whose summer internship as a strategy intern at Wondersauce was a part of her 2019 MAIP fellowship. A graduate of NYU, Roxie's numerous BIC accomplishments include winning a 2019 Silver Pencil from The One Club's Young Ones competition for her team's campaign "The Crisis Collection" on behalf of il Makiage makeup. She was also part of the winning team at last summer's Griffin Farley Beautiful Minds competition. Most recently, Roxie was awarded the 2020 Dezmax Scholarship where she created and pitched a proposal to combat racial biases in China by promoting English language tutors of color.

BIC alum Surabhi Govindarajan, who graduated in 2018, received many accolades while in the BIC program. She and her team won a 2017 Young Ones Gold Pencil in the Social Impact category for a proposal called “VIDEALL” which partnered the products of two tech giants: Google’s Chrome browser and Microsoft’s Sign Language Translator. That fall, Surabhi was part of the team that won CCNY's Nestle Skin Health SHIELD Hackathon, creating an app that recognizes the ingredients in skincare products and helps consumers to understand their efficacy. Surabhi received the 2018 DezMax Scholarship with her submission "Belong" which partnered UNICEF and MyHeritage to provide DNA testing to orphaned refugee children.

Finalists are placed in internships during February. If selected, the 2020 MAIP fellows will participate in virtual professional development opportunities. In late May, orientation will be held in the city and  fellows will officially begin their internships on June 1st.

Eli Fola: Multimedia Artist, Culture Catalyst, and BICster.


Eli Fola, BIC Class of '18, is the ultimate shape-shifter. Nigerian born and Brooklyn based, this multimedia artist constantly picks up new skills, infuses them with passion, and keeps re-imagining his ever-evolving career.  He is often regarded a saxophone genius and branded by the visual art world for his powerful imagery showcasing Yoruba regality and spirituality in a modern context. Paying homage to his home of Nigeria, Eli’s immersive performances authentically preserve Yoruba culture and history. Eli is the innovator and pioneer of the genre Yoruba Tech Soul—a fusion of traditional Nigerian sounds, electronic, jazz, house, and classical music.
 
While a student in the BIC program, Eli was chosen for the 2017 TEDxCUNY conference. His TED Talk was a lively multimedia performance that focused on how music can be used to reconcile and highlight differences in culture and identity.

Creating music isn't just Eli's passion, it's his form of self expression. "I got into music production at the middle of the decade. Something I've learned so far is to constantly stay true to the sounds that resonate with my spirit. Music is very spiritual; you really have to align your spirit to the right sound vibrations."



Eli's debut EP, “The Platform”, was released on March 28, 2016. He is the founder of Tech Afrique, an independent record label and event company that serves as a platform for releasing his projects. His work has been featured in publications such as the NY Times, Wonderland Magazine, Vogue, and Okayplayer to name a few. He has also been sought after by Grammy winning producer Swizz Beatz and grammy winning singer Alicia Keys as well as brands such as Art Net, Bacardi, and Art Basel.



Suited Magazine, known for its focus on individuals devoted to their work and instigating new cultural conversations to positively impact the future, will be featuring a collaboration with Eli in their next issue where he discusses his creative process and the release of his upcoming album #yorubatechsoul. 




Visit Eli's Instagram and website to learn more about his journey and keep up with the sounds of Yoruba Soul Tech.

From Ad Pro to Ad Prof -- One BICster's Journey



by Rebecca Rivera BIC '19

For thirty years I worked as a copywriter and Creative Director at agencies like rpa, ddb, Digitas, TBWA, Deutsch, AKQA, and more. I brought glory on my agencies and rang up sales for clients. I led by example – proving latina women can compete (and win) in the big leagues.


As the CCO of 3 Percent, I partnered with U.S. agencies big and small to brainstorm how to change the way they do business – starting with hiring diverse and inclusive talent that more fully represents the people being marketed to.

In the end, I decided the best way to change advertising wasn’t by working within the industry but by better preparing the young people entering it.

So I went back to school to get a master’s. Not just any master’s. A BIC master’s.


The Branding + Integrated Communications program was the only program I seriously considered – for three reasons: the faculty are all industry pros, the student body is among the most diverse in the nation, and BIC is the only integrated program that requires every student to learn all of the puzzle pieces and how they work together.

Where better to deconstruct the industry and how it’s taught? Thanks to BIC, I now have a deeper understanding of how research, strategy, management, technology, media, and creative all have a role to play in creating meaningful communication that adds value – for the brand, the consumer, and society.


These days I’m sharing all I learned with my students. I teach copywriting and media studies at City College as well as at City Tech (NYCCT). I also mentor my students to help them land internships and jobs and enter competitions like the One Club’s Young Ones.


If you’re a seasoned ad pro who’d like to teach one day, my advice is: get a BIC Master’s of Professional Studies. Then combine the knowledge you gain from BIC with what you learned in the trenches. Go from ad pro to ad prof. Do it for the good of the industry and for us all.

New decade. New BIC website -- with 2020 vision.


It took nearly two years from concept to launch, but BIC now has a distinctive website that builds on the visual brand identity created by BIC Board member Gustavo Stecher and his design firm Menos es Mas. Flying up regularly from his home base in Buenos Aires, skyping monthly, and employing his amazing staff who did weekly check-ins, Gustavo was the engine that kept us all engaged and enthusiastic.


With a number of conceptual iterations and dozens of executional tweaks, the site is so original that it took significantly longer to code than anticipated. But in the end (which is just the beginning), BIC has an "ownable" site that is not just unique in its own right, but distinguishes itself among graduate programs. 



The site has a bold look with an engaging navigation: BIC basics are an up and down scroll anchored in our BIC logo. More details happen in a click. One area, "Portraits in Curiosity," features BIC alums. Another highlights iconic BIC projects. And for all the BIC bits, the menu to the left is broadly categorized into Program, People, Portfolio, and Professional, each with its own dropdown menu.

A BIG BIC Thanks to Gustavo and his team at Menos es Mas. They helped bring the BIC experience to the Internet and we are tremendously grateful. Check out the site here >> www.bic-ccny.org

BICsters on the Rise



Keep on rising BICsters! Letier, Ahmet, and Emily are starting the new year off the right way with new roles and promotions at companies that allow them to exercise their BIC knowledge.

Letier Santana BIC '19 scored a role as the Marketing & PR Manager at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel, the largest hotel in continental U.S. She will be overseeing all marketing and PR strategy, and social media as well as all art direction in creative projects. As someone with a passion for travel, Letier is bringing all her talents together in this amazing new job.

Ahmet Reisli BIC '16 has just been promoted to the newly created role of Director of Creative Services at RooneyPartners, where he started as a summer intern while studying at BIC. Ahmet will oversee creative services for RooneyPartners clients, including graphic design and branding, as well as web development, SEO strategy, and search marketing assignments in numerous industry verticals. Ahmet is Google Ads certified and plays a key role in the firm’s new business efforts.

Emelin Herrera BIC '19 is now a Production Artist Senior Associate at Harry’s and Flamingo, a men and women’s start-up shaving company turned personal care powerhouse. As part of the production+design team, her responsibility is to help elevate the physical expression of all Harry’s and Flamingo packaging and retail displays, while also improving workflow. More specifically, Emily will convert and refine artwork into press-ready mechanicals for suppliers and retail distribution, like Target and Walmart!