Contently Creates New Creative Platform Where BICsters Shine

7/31/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

Creatively is a new job platform that helps creatives across all disciplines find work. The website and app gives creatives best-in-class portfolio tools to showcase their work, easy ways to connect with collaborators and brands, and powerful search tools to discover freelance and full-time opportunities.  It launched in early May, making its public debut in The Hollywood Reporter, WWD, Mashable, and more.  

Last month, Creatively spotlighted graduates from the class of 2020 on the Creatively website, app, and @hellocreatively social channels. Of course, they wanted to feature BICsters!! In addition to producing a video to spotlight Professor Gerardo Blumenkrantz's take on creative portfolios, the site highlighted these BICsters from the Class of 2020: Carlos Matias, Carmen Quang, Christina Krofon, Melissa Orr, and Taylor Becker.  Check out BICster work at

Donna Dei-Baning Picked as 2020 i'mPART Women's Fellow

7/30/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

A BIG BIC BRAVA to Donna Dei-Baning BIC ’16 who was just selected to be a part of the 2020 Advertising Club of New York’s i’mPART Fellowship Program. 

Donna is currently an Associate Director of Insights at CARAT and received her undergraduate degree in Linguistics and English at Dartmouth College. She joins an elite network of professional women that includes Amber Lynn Jackson BIC ’15 who was one of the Fellowship's inaugural winners in 2016. Carol Burns BIC ’15 was chosen be a Fellow in 2017. 

The AD Club launched i’mPART to raise awareness of the benefits of diversity in business and rally professionals around a shared movement. i’mPART calls to mind “I am part” of a movement to drive change in my industry. The acronym represents the pillars of the initiative – to Promote, Attract, Retain and Train multicultural talent. Over the years, the program has evolved into a career advancement and resource hub, promoting opportunities for New York City’s most exceptional talent, including education and the creation of an ever-evolving talent pipeline.

As part of her yearlong fellowship, Donna will receive all-expense paid trips to exclusive industry conferences, educational workshops, webinars, and master classes, 1:1 executive coaching, neuro-assessments, monthly night school with the prestigious PwC executive training program, executive salon series fostering mentor connections and high-level networking opportunities, 1-year AD Club of NY membership, and access to the industries top leaders. 

BICster Disrupts the Job Hunt in Disruptive Times

7/17/2020 Nancy 0 Comments

It kept popping up: another LinkedIn post with a familiar flyer, taped to the lobby wall of a different agency, each with a customized appeal. The first sighting was intriguing. But the cumulative impact was powerful. And now, Print Magazine's written a piece on it.

Brava to Diana Arutyunyan, BIC Class of 2020 in the Creative Track. Your job hunting is creative, innovative, tenacious, and strategic -- a lot like you. Read the entire piece here >>

Check out Diana's brilliant portfolio  And hire her -- she'll be snatched up quickly!!

5 Things I Learned in Grad School

7/15/2020 Nancy 0 Comments

Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington's company that helps individuals, companies, and communities improve their well-being and performance, just published BIC alumna Vanessa Caro's (Class of 2020) advice-packed blog for those considering graduate school. Entitled "5 things I learned in graduate school that helped me as an entry-level employee," Vanessa outlines why getting her BIC master's degree was worth the ride -- and how to get the most out of your time in as a grad student.

Favorite quote: "Rejection stings like a wasp -- quick and deadly. What matters is what you do with that rejection and how you use feedback to be better than you were yesterday."

Vanessa -- who received the highest portfolio score in the PR track -- writes with wit, wisdom, and generosity. It's an amazing read. Please check it out here >>

BIC Director on Integration and the Tech Churn

6/12/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

BIC Program Director and Professor Nancy R. Tag was a featured panelist assembled by career resources company Zippia which asked experts to share their take on where marketing is heading. Nancy discussed how advanced skills in data analytics, customer insights, creative use of technology, and one-on-one communication can help pave the way for future marketing leaders.

As founder of the Branding + Integrated Communications (BIC) program at The City College of New York as well as a former creative director and writer at various New York-based agencies, Nancy's core belief is in an integrated, cross-disciplinary model that solves communications problems in ways that produce true consumer-centric experiences within the brand narrative. Her concern is that naturally occurring silos combined with well-protected turfs threaten the industry's ability to effectively leverage the relentless tech churn, which should be addressed in a more conscientious and systematic way.

As trends continuously evolve and young marketers enter the work force, a guiding principle for  "professionals is to think of their expertise [as] a 'bucket of skills' that 'play well with each other' rather than aspiring to a narrowly defined skillset." BIC is the only graduate program to teach branding and integrated communications in an integrated way. Nancy says, "BIC graduates 'T-shaped' talent where students have broad-based understanding of the industry combined with discipline depth." As Nancy sees it, “BIC isn’t just about creating nimble thinkers for an ever-evolving world; it’s about re-imagining the industry.”

As the chief architect of the BIC Program founded in 2013, Nancy oversees nearly 70 graduate students each year who study at The City College of New York in the media communications capital of the world. BIC's 36-credit, portfolio driven Master of Professional Studies program combines theory and practice in an interdisciplinary environment. BIC's multi-tracked curriculum addresses the opportunities and needs of marketing communications on behalf of both private and non-profit organizations. As diverse as the city itself,  BICster have found careers at major companies such as Apple, Google, TBWA\Chiat\Day, BBDO, IBM, Ogilvy, HunterPR here in NYC and across the globe. BICsters also find purpose-driven work either at non-profits such as the NAACP or in higher education such as CCNY, FIT, Manhattan College and NYIT. More teachings about integrated communications can be found in Nancy's landmark book, Ad Critique.

To read the entire article, click HERE.

BICster Vera Keiter's Aviation Gin Spot Toasts Leapers.

6/12/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

Those born on February 29th -- "Leaplings," "Leapers," whatever you choose to call them – only get to officially celebrate their birthday every four years. This year, Aviation Gin celebrated 84-year-old Arlene Manko's 21st birthday who finally hit legal drinking age in 2020 by not only giving her that long awaited first drink (a tall glass of gin and soda with a wedge of orange), but her own commercial: "Arlene's Big Leap." The spot, inspired by BICsters Vera Golikova Keiter (BIC '15) and Delilah Kim (BIC instructor), was a joint effort with their agency 160over90 and Ryan Reynold's production company Maximum Effort. The actor also owns a stake in the brand.

In the spot, Arlene claims she followed the rules and waited the 30,679 days until she turned 21 because you don’t get in trouble when you do what you’re told. She claims she’s no angel as she’s seen going into a convenience store and showing her ID dressed in various disguises. Once the day finally arrives, Arlene is ready to party. Watch the commercial here >>

Creative Partners Vera Golikova Keiter and Delilah Kim have been working together for years since meeting at BBDO. They were not only recognized in The Drum's 2018 50 Under 30, but have taught B3011 Multi-Media Executions in the BIC Creative track for the last two years. They're on teaching hiatus this Fall as they take on a new role at Facebook on the West Coast. 

The Aviation Gin project exemplifies how a strong strategic insight can lead to inspiration for a fun and unusually creative idea. In addition to the strategy and creative being totally in sync, Vera notes that they "got lucky with a brave and forward-thinking client who was not worried about legal and just went with his gut." The ad is a toast to all of those born on the same day of February 29th and "have had to patiently wait all these years to finally ring in their 21st birthday."

Agency Versus In-House: BICster Edition

6/11/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

Agency? Or brand? Both environments have their pros and cons. That's why BIC believes in "career agility" where you can cross over to either side and back again. Case in point? Two BIC alums from the Class of 2016:  Ken Sheldon and Rolando Leal. Both have recently shifted to in-house jobs at major corporations after working for a series of renowned agencies.

Halfway through the BIC program, Ken started a job as Art Director at Red Fuse Communications, the global WPP client team dedicated to serving Colgate-Palmolive Worldwide. During his time there, Ken art directed the digital, social, television, and print channels in North America and Latin America for brands including Colgate, Irish Spring, and Palmolive. About three and a half years later, he made the move to one of the world's largest public relations firms, Weber Shandwick. As Senior Art Director, Ken worked on social and digital activations for TUMS, Anheuser Busch, Breathe Right, Flonase, Sensodyne, and new business.

Earlier this year, Ken left the agency side and accepted a new position as Associate Creative Director at multi-national tech giant, IBM. His team is in charge of the master brand as well as other business units at IBM such as Watson, Cloud, and Research. Ken also works with the creative team to design and create assets for more general IBM announcements and partnerships, such as the Grammys, the US Open, and Pride.

Ken believes that a lot of brands are building out their in-house teams not just to save money, but because brands are coming to realize the need for year-round advertising and marketing. Although he doesn't have a particular preference, Ken notes that the largest difference between working at an agency versus working for a brand is the shift from working on multiple products to focusing all your energy on a single brand.

However, Ken feels that "IBM is a bit unique in that it's so large and has many different business units. Also, I'm excited to work on a brand like IBM that holds design so high up in importance—that's been a big change for me versus a lot of the brands I've worked on agency-side."

Having agency experience is a big plus. Ken's team at IBM is currently borrowing from how agencies do things. His expertise is particularly useful when doing any work in conjunction with agencies and production houses.

Similar to Ken, Rolando had a lot of agency experience before making the switch to in-house. Since graduating from BIC, Rolando's worked in account management at Campbell Ewald, mcgarrybowen, and most recently at Ogilvy as Account Supervisor with clients such as Holiday Inn Brands and Southwest Airlines. But since March, Rolando has been Account Director of consumer goods at Unilever's U-Studio which has grown from a small in-house agency to a platform used by almost three-quarters of Unilever's brands. Using a hybrid model, U-Studio has hired most of its staff from the agency world. Since launching in 2016, Lever now has 18 U-Studios in 15 countries.

As the debate rages on, the only thing certain is that Ken and Rolando will increase their career agility in the the ever-changing communications ecosystem.

Melissa Orr is BIC's 2020 AIGA Fresh Grad

6/11/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

In June, BIC was proud to be represented by Melissa Orr at AIGA’s 10th Annual Fresh Grad event. She will present her team's 2019 One Show Silver Pencil-winning campaign "The Crisis Collection" for Il Makiage Makeup.  Her presentation will be showcased with a select company of recently graduated peers from other illustrious local and regional graduate design-oriented programs, including Parsons School of Design, Cooper Union, NYU Tisch, SVA’s MPS in Branding, Pratt Institute, and SCAD.

What is Fresh Grad?
 It's a yearly event held by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) that offers graduate design students a chance to present their thesis and represent their school in a public forum to an enthusiastic and supportive audience.

Last year’s BIC winner, Natalie Alcide, was able to present her Bailey’s Almande campaign to a live audience at the New School in Greenwich Village. Unfortunately, the 2020 pandemic shifted this year’s celebration to a virtual one. However, this link allows us to see the work from all the 2020 Fresh Grads, including Melissa’s.

Congrats, Melissa. You rocked it. This was a real “cherry on top” of a month of amazing accomplishments while in the BIC Program, including winning honors for the highest Portfolio Thesis Defense score in the Creative Track.

The BIC Class of 2020: Visionary. Nimble. Poised to Transform a Post-Pandemic World.

6/10/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

In May, the BIC Class of 2020 didn’t just graduate. This powerhouse class was able to stop an unprecedented pandemic in its tracks. While the semester went off-line in mid-March, these students dug in. They defended exceptional portfolios. Pitched final projects to Diageo, the multinational beverage company, in a dynamic, three-hour Zoom session.  They proved that their Class of 2020 wasn’t just about having 2020 vision. It was about being fearless.

With 37 students, BIC’s biggest graduating class EVER originated from points east of New York City: Denmark, Norway, and Italy. And even further: Armenia, Morocco, Iran, China and Russia. Many came from the south: Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. Others were home-grown, from Brooklyn to the Bronx. Queens. Even Ohio…

In two short years, students from this class received a record-breaking SEVEN The LAGRANT Foundation Scholarships: Carmen Quang, Carlos Matias, John Holliday-Stewart, Kam Singh, Mohamed Amribet, Ray Sein, and Amera Lulu.

The BIC Class of 2020 had 3 teams honored at The 2019 ONE Club’s Young Ones Competition with a Silver Pencil, a Bronze ADC Cube, and 2 Merits. Hats off to the Silver Pencil winning campaign for Il Makiage by Lorenzo Lasagna, Jose Fresan, Melissa Orr, and Roxie Xie. Our Bronze ADC Cube winners Angel Wu, Kenneth Medina, Diana Arutuyuan, John Holliday-Stewart, and Mohamed Amribet also won a Merit for their Il Makiage print campaign. Merit winners for their Brooks Running Shoes campaign were Carlos Matias, Raymond Sein, Taylor Becker, and Carmen Quang.

Three teams from the Class of 2020 were selected for the One Show Client Pitch -- which is such an honor and heavy lift, that the One Club didn’t even TRY to pull that off this year. Last year, it was Jose Fresan, Melissa Orr, Lorenzo, Roxie, and Amera. The year before, Carmen also pitched with a BIC team.

This class was honored in many issues of CMYK’s Top 100 Creatives: Jose Fresan, Melissa Orr, Carlos, Carmela, Diana, William, and Amera.

In the last two years, our DezMax Scholarship winners have been Carlos, Taylor, and Roxie.

Penelope Herrera was on the team STEM Hive that won $25,000 at Zahn Innovation Center’s Pitch Night. This idea originated at BIC’s 24-Hour Idea Hack in 2018.

Last summer, we not only had a couple of BICsters compete in the BBH Strategic Bootcamp, but Roxie was on the winning pitch team.

Melissa Orr was selected to represent BIC as an AIGA Fresh Grad.

In the past two years that started at BIC orientation on August 22, 2018, BIC's 6th cohort learned how to brand Harlem, sell Heineken 0.0, and helped CUNY Arts engage the largest student body in the world. This Spring, they started a conversation with Diageo’s Seedlip by creating a special society that focused on a magical distillation process. They presented like pros -- strategically, persuasively, theatrically. And then, before the dust settled, one team even killed Sober Curiosity.

At the graduation celebration on Friday, May 29th, the following students were acknowledged for receiving the highest track scores at the May 26th Portfolio Thesis Defense:

Vanessa Caro and John Holliday-Stewart in the PR Track tied with 8.3 out of 9 points.
Melissa Orr in the Creative Track with a score of 8.5 out of 9.
Raymond Sein in the Management/Planning Track with the highest score in the class with an 8.8 out of 9.  

The following BIC Graduates received certificates for the highest GPAs:

Melissa Orr with a 3.84
Raymond Sein with a 3.87
Taylor Becker with the highest GPA of 3.88

We also saluted the BIC grads who were CCNY undergrads: Carmen Quang and Kenneth Medina.

Bravo, BIC Class of 2020. We will follow you as you continue to soar, reshape the industry, and create a more brilliant future.

37 BICsters. 34 Judges. Eight Breakout Sessions. One Powerhouse Portfolio Defense.

6/09/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

The BIC Class of 2020 wrapped up its Portfolio Thesis Defense on May 26th via a Zoom-style event that was uniquely challenging — yet highly rewarding. BIC’s largest class EVER defended digital portfolios in  Creative, Management/Planning, and Public Relations that demonstrated both mastery of discipline and interdisciplinary finesse. BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag praised the students for their ambitious presentations of product, process, professionalism, and personality -- with special kudos for being incredibly adaptive to the unexpected demands of a COVID-19 world.

Judged by powerhouse professionals who held students to high standards, this year’s portfolios showcased projects on behalf of CUNY Arts, Ally Bank, Il Makiage, Brooks Running Shoes, Vans, Diageo's Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirit, Heineken 0.0, Governors Island, among others.  The most powerful aspects of the BIC portfolio are not just the amazing real-life projects BICsters work on or the clients that they interact with; it's that students are required to repackage and elevate course material through their own professional lens in ways that spotlight personal strengths and talent. This gives each BICster a truly unique portfolio -- distinct from their classmates as well as within the industry.

In response to the pandemic, this year’s Portfolio Thesis Defense was held off-campus and online. Requiring a ton of complex logistics, the event started at 9:30AM by welcoming a “Zoomful” of 17 professionals ready to judge morning sessions in the PR, Management/Planning, and Creative tracks. Judges logged in from all over the globe: California, Canada, Wisconsin, and even Idaho. From there, the judges split off into four Breakout Rooms where BIC students entered one-by-one for their appointed 25-minute slot. Each session included 18 minutes of presentation and 7 minutes of judge’s questions, comments, and push back. The entire Portfolio Thesis Defense then repeated itself in the afternoon with 17 new judges and four more Breakout Rooms.

Congrats to the Class of 2020: All BICsters passed the Defense and celebrated their achievements at a virtual BIC graduation party on Friday, May 29th. Top scoring BICsters in each track were announced. Honors went to Vanessa Caro and John Holliday-Stewart who tied for top score in Public Relations,  Melissa Orr who received top score in Creative, and Raymond Sein who topped the Management/Planning track as well as scored the highest in the BIC Class of 2020.  Special thanks to all the BIC faculty and staff who helped support BICsters throughout their time in the program -- especially the faculty who taught the Portfolio Thesis Electives this year: Katina Scott, Gerardo Blumenkrantz, and Nancy R. Tag.  BIC Program Manager Marlene Leo provided logistic and emotional support for the event and throughout the year while BIC Design Specialist Mira Steinzer guided the Class of 2020 in the technical and design aspects of their portfolios from the moment they enter the program.

This year, BIC invited 37 communications professionals to judge in eight different sessions. A BIG BIC thanks to them all. You were tireless, considerate, and AWESOME:

Management/Planning:  Amber Chenevert, Strategy & Insights Director at VMLY&R; Meg Deedy, Senior Marketing & Creative Strategist at Accenture; Donna Dei-Baning, Associate Director of Insights at Carat; Carl Desir, Global Executive Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at R/GA; Amber Jackson, Brand Manager at Apple; Katie O’Neal, Head of Account Management at Digitas; Ellen Oppenheim, Founder Oppenheim Media Consulting; Will Parker, President and Chief Strategy Officer at Retail Data Trust; David Prince, Group Strategy Director at FCB; Rich Rapp, President/Founder of Altamira; Michelle Rowley, Group Planning Director at Deutsch; Liz Scordato, Director of Project Management at Strawberry Frog; Alexandra Suazo, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at American Girl; Jeff Thaler, Project Management at GroupM; Nicole Wasserman, Group Director at Digitas Health.

Public Relations: Aviva Ebstein Kroninger, former Chief Communications Officer at Y&R; Donna Renella, President of ABW Solutions; Jean Salvatore, President, JMS Consulting; John Totaro, President, Totaro Communications; Bjorn Trowery, Communications at Facebook; Dhvani Unadkat, Senior Digital Marketing Analyst at Hunter.

Creative: Gustavo Asman, Creative Director at Pyramid Communications; Gina Asara-Collura, Creative Director at FCB Health; Chris Brunt, Freelance Creative; Michael Clancy, Founder and CEO of Agency Wars; Castro Desroches, Senior AD at Translation; George Logothetis, former ECD at Saatchi & Saatchi; Michael Parrott, Freelance Creative; Marga Peces, Design Director at Priorities USA; Ken Sheldon, ACD at IBM; George Tannenbaum, former ECD at Ogilvy; Susan Young, ECD at BBDO;  Ricard Valero, ECD at TBWA\Chiat\DayNY.

It's GOLD (and BRONZE) for BIC at 2020 ONE Club's Young Ones

5/24/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

On May 13th, amid an epic show-stopping pandemic, The ONE Club announced its 2020 Young Ones finalists and, for the third time in five years, BIC won GOLD!

This year’s winners, Paul Bernabe, Marian Cuestas, Cynthia Rojas, and Ping Sun (all BIC '21) received the Gold Pencil for their North Face campaign “Nature Never Judges.” Their team, City Creative Studio, also received a Bronze ADC Cube. BIC’s effort this year resulted in The City College of New York / CUNY being ranked in the Top Ten among schools in the United States.

Two BIC teams also made this year's short list: The Vandereens: Raymond Sein, Carlos Matias, Carmela Vecchione, and Paulina Canalizo for "Vans Pro Classics Are for Skating" and The Pencil Sharpeners: Diana Arutyunyan, Liyi Ma, Amy Liang, Kenneth Medina, and William Howard for "Made to Protect Your Feet."

They were among six teams overseen by BIC Professors Jason Stefanik and Andy Currie in this year’s one-credit intensive course that began randomly in November and wrapped up — over the phone, in a bodega, and at various agencies — with the Young Ones deadline on March 10th. In addition to the 2020 Gold Pencil and Bronze ADC Cube, Jason has helped BICsters win two Gold Pencils (2016 and 2017) and a Merit (2017) as well as 2019’s Silver Pencil, Bronze ADC Cube, and two Merit Winners along with co-instructor Andy Currie.

According to The ONE Club, this year's Young Ones competitions — the Young Ones Brief, Young Ones ADC, and Young Ones Portfolio — attracted an especially talented group of students. When the dust cleared and the esteemed juries finished their scores, over 500 entries from 17 different countries made the Finalist list. In addition to North Face, 2020 sponsors included Vans, Burger King, and Spotify.
Competition for the top prize was stiff: only 19 Gold Pencils from the young Ones Brief were awarded. So a big BIC Bravo to Paul Bernabe, Marion Cuestas, Cynthia Rojas, and Ping Sun. While the pandemic may have cancelled the festivities, BIC was happy to salute you with its first-ever Zoom photo shoot. What an amazing achievement. Congrats!!!

Thanks also to the intrepid instruction of our instructors, Jason and Andy. Your expertise, passion, and good humor were instrumental in elevating the students submissions and making them "ONE Show Worthy." We owe you big time -- or at least a beer.

More about Jason Stefanik and Andy Currie: Jason is currently a Group Creative Director at mcgarrybowen where he works on the Audible, Manhattan Mini Storage, and Subway accounts. He’s worked at agency powerhouses such as Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal, TBWA\Chiat\Day, and BBDO. While at BBDO, he won and launched the popular Foot Locker “Approved” campaign, and created well-known work for Snickers, Fed-Ex and AT&T. During his 12-year career he has consistently created advertising that breaks into popular culture, having been featured on The Today Show, CNN, ABC News, New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix, Mashable, ESPN, Bleacher Report, TBS Funniest Commercials of the Year and in the print edition of The New York Times. And he’s been repeatedly acknowledged by the industry with Cannes Lions, One Show Pencils, ADC Cubes, Clios and many other international advertising awards. 

Andy's work has won at Cannes, D&AD, The One Show, the Clios, and even captured a Golden Drum - an award he neither submitted work for nor knew he won until receiving a fancy watch along with an esoteric letter written in Polish. More importantly, he’s been fortunate to spend most of the last 20 years working with a wonderfully odd and talented assortment of creative  people. Despite constantly preaching the value of simplicity, brevity, and outrageous creativity in advertising, he isn’t convinced that any person can be summed up in a paragraph.

More about The ONE Club: The One Club exists to champion and promote excellence in advertising and design in all its forms. It is the world's foremost non-profit organization devoted to elevating creative work in the industry. It seeks to celebrate the legacy of creative advertising and to use that legacy to inspire future generations. The One Club is the 'keeper of the flame' for advertising creatives. The One Show remains the pinnacle of achievement by providing a showcase of the world’s best work, and by inviting collaboration among individuals who are actively developing outstanding work.  Further, The One Club exists to educate and inspire students of the business and to benefit the next generation of creatives through scholarships, portfolio reviews and annual student exhibitions and competitions. 

Spring 2020 Client Pitch -- Pandemic Edition

5/20/2020 Unknown 0 Comments

One hundred-plus video frames on Zoom. Four tenacious BIC teams. Three pitch-ready clients from Diageo. One unprecedented pandemic.

Beyond that, it was business as usual for the Class of 2020's client pitch on Thursday night, May 14th as BICsters presented integrated marketing communications campaigns to this year's corporate client Jason Chebib, VP of Consumer Planning of Diageo, Olivia Kupfer, Senior Brand Manager, and Kristina Knight, Senior Innovation Manager.

This year's client brief asked BICsters to promote Seedlip, a non-alcoholic distilled spirit with zero calories and no artificial additives or sweeteners. As a new product in a relatively new beverage category, Seedlip's an ideal beverage for the health conscious individual in an upwards trending holistic and wellness world. Students instantly rose to the challenge.

But if the brief was challenging, the semester was more-so. As the coronavirus triggered a pandemic that closed the campus in mid-March, the capstone joined the virtual world and conducted the remainder of the semester online as well. Professor and Program Director Nancy R. Tag sought out new guidance on best practices in "Zoom World," including reaching out to Donna Dei-Baning, BIC '16, Associate Director of Insights at Carat, who shared advice with the team leaders about best practices for remote pitching, especially for a BIC capstone pitch. Once again, teams benefited from the insights of Javier Garcia, BIC '15, who joined May rehearsals to help coach teams in the home stretch.

As teams drilled down on the project, other issues seemed like just minor distractions, such as dealing with international time zones from China, Norway, Denmark, and Russia, video/audio lags on Zoom, and the disorientation of not being able to brainstorm in person. In the end, it was the pitch that mattered. And all four delivered...

PITCH ONE: Muv's "Seedlip Society: Master the Craft"

Team MUV's research lead them to conclude that today's convenience oriented consumer also craved complexity. Their campaign, "Seedlip Society: Master the Craft," focused on the skills, exquisite ingredients, and tools required to make sophisticated cocktails with Seedlip.

SECOND PITCH: Common Ground's "The Magic of Distillation."

Common Ground realized that what makes Seedlip uniquely magical is its distillation process. To tell that tale, their campaign allowed consumers to ponder whether Seedlip founder Ben Branson's wizardry was real magic -- or simply magical.

THIRD PITCH: Thumbprint's "Seedlip. Drink it Whenever."

Team Thumbprint believed that Seedlip's growth would be hindered if it too closely associated itself with non-alcoholic trends that have become too trendy, such as Sober Curiosity. Their multi-phase campaign to "Kill Sober Curiosity" encouraged non-conformists to drink Seedlip WHENEVER.

FOURTH PITCH: Rendezvous' "Deep Seeded Conversations."

In researching non-alcoholic drinking trends, Rendezvous realized that most people don't miss the alcohol as much as they miss the socialization. Their campaign "Deep Seeded Conversations" makes Seedlip a conversation catalyst where bonds become stronger with each sip.

Before announcing the winner and runner-up, Jason Chebib offered insightful feedback and tips to all the teams. Then the moment of truth: Runner-up went to the "The Magic of Distillation" by Common Ground. But the big winner of the night was Thumbprint's "Seedlip. Drink it Whenever" with its mission to kill Sober Curiosity. Although some aspects of the campaign were considered too risky for Diageo, Jason, Olivia, and KK noted that the emotion, research, and insight of Thumbprint's campaign demonstrated real marketing savvy.

Congrats to all the teams!! And special thanks to Diageo's Jason, Olivia, and Kristina, who created this assignment specifically for BICsters and supported us throughout the semester.

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. In 2018, BIC worked on behalf of Sandy Hook Promise to help stop gun violence by promoting SAVE clubs on high school campuses. Last year, the Class of 2020 helped CUNYArts increase student engagement with arts institutions throughout New York City.