York wins five CCAE awards

York strengthened its reputation as a marketing & communications leader in this year’s Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education awards competiton, winning five “Prix d’Excellence”.

This year’s prizes included a gold medal for the 2005-2006 student recruitment campaign, two silvers and a bronze for YorkU magazine, and a bronze for York’s Las Nubes coffee launch. The awards were presented at the CCAE’s annual meeting in Banff, May 30.

Gold medal Admissions material

Left: Nature photos on Faculty handbook covers break with traditional university imagery

Richard Fisher, York’s chief marketing & communications officer who attended the ceremonies, said, “It’s good that our work with our partners here at York is being recognized in Canada as well as abroad. Producing these initiatives is a real team effort from within the division and across the University. York has a great story to tell and it’s our job to get it out there.” Here is a rundown on the three sets of awards:

Student recruitment: Again this year, York’s integrated “Enter Here 2005-2006” program aimed at prospective students won top honours for its consistently professional approach. Initiated by the Marketing & Communications Division on behalf of the Office of Admissions and designed by Toronto’s doug agency, the campaign won gold for Best Program: Student Recruitment.

Built on the themes of the previous year’s winning campaign, the 2005 package’s design elements were applied to both print and online information and featured items such as an undergraduate handbook, graduate handbook, all Faculty handbooks and a variety of brochures and posters. All items used nature images representing the “transformation and growth” that York students experience. “This was a much more fine-tuned entry than the first year,” said Jennifer Wing, account director. “More faculties came onside with the York branding effort and honed their content to reduce repetition between their handbooks and the main Admissions handbook, therefore the content was much stronger.”

more covers

Right: Consistent graphic treatment on all admissions materials earned high marks from judges

Judges congratulated the York team for its “broad approach” that extended beyond handbooks to include integration of its Faculty books, international viewbook, the acknowledgment package and the new Web site. The judges said the materials worked hard to target each student segment with comprehensive copy and high production values. “Our submission included a post-analysis of the campaign,” said Laurence Boucher, director of account direction. “After a review of admissions data, it’s clear that more students are choosing York as their first choice. It’s hard to argue with results.”
This was the second recruitment cycle for York’s new brand, which promotes the University as a modern, interdisciplinary and cutting-edge institution. The creative content is intended to differentiate York from the competition and, through the use of images of green spaces, portray its campuses as vibrant, safe communities where people learn, work, live and play. The award-winning communications team consisted of Laurence Boucher and Jennifer Wing from Account Direction, Barbara Brown, Glenda Gill, Donna Cope and the rest of the Admissions team, as well as the communications officers/liaison representatives in the different faculties.


Above: Four of the five covers from the silver medal-winning YorkU magazine

YorkU magazine: The University magazine was awarded silver in the Best Magazine category for the second year in a row and picked up two more medals for a cover photo and story in the Summer 2004 edition. Noting that York was the only magazine to repeat as a medal winner this year, Berton Woodward, director of publications, said “we have been rewarded for a consistency of quality that our staff can be very proud of.”

The judges liked the clean, bold look of the magazine and said it did a good job of being true to the University’s brand. “You know right away it’s York,” they said. The judges also noted the wide variety of information in each issue which they said “does a good job of speaking to the audience.” The five eligible issues of YorkU, which is published five times a year, featured cover stories ranging from York’s alumni comedians to the top students of the year. As York’s entry statement noted, the magazine has proven highly popular on campus, where its distributor consistently reports that no issues are left on campus racks when a new one is delivered. About 15,000 copies per issue are distributed at York.

silver medal cover photoA brooding, black and white cover photograph (left) of author and York alumnus Nino Ricci (BA ’81) by photographer Edward Gajdel was awarded a silver medal for Best Photo. The judges said the use of black and white enhanced the mood of the accompanying stories. “Working with a photographer as accomplished as Gajdel and a subject as intriguing as Ricci was a real treat,” said James Nixon, the magazine’s art director. Ricci’s article, “The Lifetime Reading Plan”, in which the acclaimed author admits he became an avid reader by “somewhat of a fluke”, was awarded a bronze medal for Best Writing/Article (English). One judge said, “the writing transported me”, while others noted it successfully engaged the readers and reinforced the importance of life-long learning.
Sharing in the award were: Woodward, managing editor Michael Todd, art director James Nixon, staff writers Martha Tancock and David Fuller, associate art director Cindy Wilce, copy editor Marie Kopf and staff contributor Jenny Pitt-Clark.
Las Nubes coffee: When York, Timothy’s World Coffee and the York University Foundation decided to market Las Nubes coffee – the University’s own brand of sustainable, shade-grown brew – the media relations unit swung into high gear. “No other university has its own brand of coffee,” said Nancy White, director of media relations. “We knew the time was right to put some PR muscle behind this product and launch it in a big way.”

Beck McKinnon and Lorna Marsden

Right: From left, Becky McKinnon, Chair of Timothy’s World Coffee, and Lorna R. Marsden, York president and vice-chancellor, serve up Las Nubes for the media

The media relations team hand delivered samples of Las Nubes to journalists inviting them to a coffee party and news conference showcasing the history of the “coffee with a conscience”. The launch, held in the TEL Building’s mezzanine, included a lively tasting session with coffee-themed performances by musicians from the Faculty of Fine Arts. Speakers explained the coffee idea and highlighted the work of York Professor Howard Daugherty and the Faculty of Environmental Studies at the University’s Las Nubes Rainforest research facility in Costa Rica. Lorna Marsden, York president and vice-chancellor, and Becky McKinnon, Chair of Timothy’s World Coffee, shared a cup together for photographers. The effort produced prominent coverage in the Toronto Star, Maclean’s and local press, as well as on CBC national radio and Fairchild Television. The successful pitch earned the media relations unit a bronze medal for Best Program: Public Affairs, Marketing and Communications.

The “Prix d’Excellence” is the prestigious annual awards program of the CCAE, which recognizes outstanding achievement in alumni affairs, public affairs, development, student recruitment and overall institutional advancement.