The scene on the television screen opens with a mother telling her young son to finish what he’s doing in his room because the family has a plane to catch.
She begs him to hurry. But as she steps closer to where he’s coloring at a table, she sees he’s finishing a card for his grandparents. It becomes apparent that it’s something he wants to give them when they get off the plane in a few hours.
The mother smiles, relaxes, then tells her son they have plenty of time. After all, the airport is just down the street.
The 30-second spot closes with the logo for Sarasota Bradenton International Airport and the tagline “Closer to Home.”
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That slogan, and possibly even the commercial, may become the center of a new advertising campaign for SRQ International. It comes to the airport not through a professional advertising agency, but from two Ringling College of Art and Design students building a portfolio.
Christopher Campbell and Jose Lazarte presented the ad, a second TV spot, a conceptual website design and a set of print ads to the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority at its May meeting. Now, the airport is interested in using parts of the campaign to appeal to area residents deciding where they want to start their flights in the future.
A team of 18 advertising students at Ringling College of Art and Design placed third in the Admerica National Student Advertising Contest in Anaheim, Calif., on Monday.
“We thought they made a very good point of connecting with the local community,” said Rick Piccolo, the airport’s CEO. “This facet of what they put together would work locally.”
Airport officials have long lamented that area residents often fly out of Tampa International Airport to take advantage of lower fares. They have sought to convince those fliers that the time and worry they save by flying out of SRQ makes up for any differences in fares. About 30 percent of SRQ’s passenger traffic comes out of Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Campbell, who will be a senior at Ringling next year, did the airport work as part of his coursework. The 35-year-old former Marine approached SRQ early this year to get a real-world client for the focus of the project.
Lazart, 29, who served in the Navy before attending Ringling, came onto the project when it grew to need print and web design components in addition to video. The graphics in his print ads incorporate family scenes highlighted by SRQ’s signature logo square. In one, a grandfather fishes with his grandson under the tagline “Spend more time catching up, less time catching flights.”
Sandrina McCloud, SRQ’s marketing coordinator, assisted Campbell and Lazarte by providing them with historical photos, airport statistics and creative feedback. She also coordinated video shoots with airport tenants and staff for the television portion of the students’ work.
Once they had learned all they could about the client, Campbell and Lazarte knew convincing local fliers to stop driving to Tampa’s airport was where SRQ needed help.
“People are still making that decision,” Campbell said. “So, how do you persuade them otherwise?”
The “Closer to Home” slogan, combined with an overall advertising campaign emphasizing a relaxed atmosphere at the airport, is designed to convince locals that using SRQ will give them time back in their lives.
Lazarte said the experience with SRQ has him looking forward to going after his dream job, that of an art director with an advertising firm.
“Being our first real-world client, it was awesome,” he said.
Campbell said he intends to work in the video production side of the advertising field.
Piccolo said SRQ will take possession of the advertising materials from Campbell and Lazarte soon. Campbell said he and Lazarte have worked out an agreement with the airport that will give it rights to use their work.
The value proposition of that deal grew this week when a team of 16 Ringling students, including Campbell and Lazarte, took third place in the nation at the annual Admerica National Student Advertising Competition in Anaheim, Calif. That team, like its competitors, produced advertising materials for a single national client, Snapple.
The team won regional contests to get to the national event. According to the college, about 150 teams compete in the Admerica contest each year.
Ringling was the only design school in the national finals. Most of the other teams at the event were large, Division 1 universities, including University of California-Berkeley, Texas A&M and St. John’s University.
McCloud said the work the students produced would likely have cost several thousand dollars if done through an advertising agency.