Southeast’s ‘Talking Booth’ Video Advances to National AAF Competition in New Orleans

University Communications and Marketing at Southeast Missouri State University has been awarded a District Gold ADDY and a Judges' Citation presented by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) for “The Talking Booth” video, which now advances to the final round AAF competition in New Orleans June 10. The entry competed at the district level with about 450 entries, with only about 20 percent receiving recognition. The Judges’ Citation was issued based on the video being one of the competition’s most memorable pieces. In February, University Communications and Marketing was honored at the local AAF Awards Show with a “Best of Show” award for “The Talking Booth” video, which was produced as part of Southeast’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2016 Dinner Celebration. The video competed in the  public service non-broadcast audio/visual category. The video shows clips of more than 40 hours of conversations taped at Southeast in fall 2015 that resulted when talking booths were placed on campus inviting passersby to ask questions of members of various ethnic and cultural groups. What resulted was honest conversation about race, religion, identity, diversity, stereotypes and the uniqueness of everyone’s personal experience. Over the course of a two-week period, talking booths invited students to stop and “Ask a Muslim,” “Ask an African American,” “Ask a Caucasian,” “Ask an LGBTQ,” “Ask an International Student” and “Ask a Christian.” The department also received seven gold and five silver ADDY Awards at the local competition. “It is an incredible honor knowing our advertising peers have recognized the quality of this product at the district level that includes four states,” said Jeff Harmon, executive director of University Communications and Marketing. “It is a wonderful honor for our staff to be recognized at a very high level for their marketing and technical talents. We can’t wait to see how the video finishes during the final round competition in New Orleans.” Harmon credited Tonya Wells, assistant director of marketing and digital media, and Aaron Eisenhauer, former digital image specialist in University Communications and Marketing at Southeast, for the video’s ingenuity and high-quality production that resulted in more than 100,000 views, 260,000 reached, and over 1,700 social media shares one week after its release. “We are so thrilled ‘The Talking Booth’ video received the District Gold award,” Wells said. “Some projects are just different, and from the moment we began working on this video, we knew it was special. It’s just an intriguing concept. The topics discussed were so worthwhile, and our students, faculty, and staff who participated truly brought with them informed opinions, honest questions and the raw emotion for what’s at stake.” “The Talking Booth” video advanced from the local competition among 129 print, digital and multi-media advertising projects, all created, published or aired in the Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Paducah, Kentucky, and Harrisburg, Illinois, markets between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016.