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Best of the Week 2019-2020: Excellence in College Prep


This week, Ms. Maya Wanner's Visual Storytelling students completed and presented their ad campaign summative projects. Rather than analyzing an advertising campaign of their choice, students were encouraged to create their very own ad campaign for St. Edward High School. Working in teams, students had to analyze the strengths and weakness of an ad campaign and how to incorporate ethos and pathos in order to convey certain emotions and establish trust and connection through their use of color, font, diction, design and photography. Trying to highlight all that St. Ed's has to offer, students chose to feature their campaigns on the Seven Standards of an Edsman, how students at St. Ed's embody leadership and excellence, and the strong unification and community of the Holy Cross brotherhood.

"I wanted to create a more immersive project for my students," says Ms. Wanner. "I wanted them to make their own aesthetic choices about typography and color instead of analyzing works that others have done. They were able to create something new, original and true to their own experiences and creative voices while looking through the lens of an ad executive and marketing team." To add another dimension to the project's experience, Ms. Wanner invited Director of Admission Mr. Dan Mackin '04 and Marketing Communications Manager Ms. Morgan Osheka to provide feedback during students' presentations to pinpoint what elements translated well throughout the campaigns and acknowledging areas for improvement.

"One of the most important aspects of the creative process for designing an ad campaign is intentionality," says Ms. Wanner. "Throughout our film classes, we teach students to be intentional and to make specific creative choices for thoughtful, concrete reasons. Additionally, I wanted this project to allow students to focus on how images can communicate a strong message and engage their audiences. I think analysis alongside creation makes for the most effective learning experiences." Prior to the creation process of their own ad campaigns, students analyzed marketing campaigns that St. Ed's has featured within the last few years, including the "You Belong Here" model and the current "Empowered" campaign. By analyzing how these campaigns are able to reflect the values and programs offered at St. Ed's, students had a stronger vision for the direction of their own campaigns.

"Starting out with analysis is very necessary in mastering skills and concepts, but when we are engaging with those skills and concepts throughout the creative process and immerse ourselves in them to use them practically and creatively, we retain them better," says Ms. Wanner. "From this project, I hope my students will look at ads they see out in the real world with a better understanding of the tactics put in place to persuade us and draw us in as the audience. The concepts they've learned can be carried over to more than just advertising, but also to social media use to better understand the nuances between images and text and all the intricacies behind visual media."

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