AgComm alumni shine on camera and off!

Farmers Advance

URBANA, IL – University of Illinois College of ACES Agricultural Communications alumna Diane Martin is president and CEO of Rhea + Kaiser. Her company recently received the gold award from the Collegiate Advertising Awards for creating a recruitment video for the AgComm department.

“The Ag Communications program at Illinois has shaped several generations of professionals who have had a positive impact on agriculture,” Martin says.. “Making this video is Rhea + Kaiser’s way of helping to inspire the next generation of ag communicators and ensure the viability of the program.” Martin is a 1986 graduate of the program, with a concentration in advertising.

The video features a number of alumni from the program as well as current students: 2016 graduates Kira Bowman, Nick Gimple, Billy Hatfield, and Kendall Herren; sophomore Katherine Zelechowski; junior Josh Krawitz; and seniors Caitlyn McClure and Caeli Cleary.

“The video has made it a lot easier to tell the agricultural communications story,” says Lulu Rodriguez, director of agricultural communications at U of I. “It’s been a real conversation starter. When we use it, we are able to expand on its message, which schools really appreciate. We have a lot more inquiries coming in. Our recruiting efforts are paying off in large part due to the video that R+K created for us.”

With a combined curriculum from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the College of Media, the video will be used as a recruiting tool for both U of I units.

The Collegiate Advertising Awards program honors marketing professionals for outstanding excellence in all forms of advertising, marketing, and promotion specific to higher education products and services. The annual awards competition recognizes U.S. colleges, universities, and other educational organizations across a wide range of categories including branding, social media, recruiting, fund-raising, multimedia campaigns, and educational fairs.

A panel of design and education marketing professionals judged the more than 900 entries on creativity, layout and design, typography, production, quality, and overall effectiveness.

“We are thrilled to have received this recognition for the Ag Communications video. It was definitely a passion project for several of us at R+K who are University of Illinois grads,” says R+K senior account supervisor Laura Findling, who was project lead on the video. “Lulu and her team were great partners in this initiative. We’re proud to be able to tell their story and encourage prospective students to consider the program. This was also the first major video project to come out of R+K’s new Video Production unit, so there’s a bit of R+K pride in there, too.”