Islander Collaboration with Local Professionals Impacts Coastal Bend Community

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Many Corpus Christi nonprofits do a world of good for the community but lack the resources to build awareness of the services they provide.

To help elevate brand and positioning, the Graphic Design Program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi partners with the American Advertising Federation-Corpus Christi Chapter (AAF-CC) each year for a public service event called ONE DAY. The service project allows Islander students to work alongside local industry professionals to develop and implement a multimedia advertising campaign for a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has little or no marketing or advertising budget.

“When I first started in the graphic design program, I heard about ONE DAY and it seemed like something everybody got excited about,” said Catherine Derbala, an Islander graphic design senior who led some of the teams. “Everything we make today ends up out in the community. I saw last year’s campaign at the mall, and it was satisfying to see our impact beyond the Island.”

This year, ONE DAY was held Oct. 12 in the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Graphic Design Lab. Islander Graphic Design students and Coastal Bend marketing and creative professionals developed a new brand identity and multimedia advertising campaign for Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse-Coastal Bend (COADA), a private nonprofit organization that serves a multicounty region with a continuum of care in prevention, intervention, and treatment of the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction problems for individuals, families, and communities.

“A lot of nonprofits don’t have it in their budget to do marketing or advertising. Just getting money to advertise posts on Facebook is hard,” said Maria Rodriguez, COADA Community Relations Specialist. “This campaign is going to help us promote our services to a younger crowd that we don’t always have access to and address abuse problems sooner rather than later.”

Finished deliverables for COADA included a refined brand identity, print ads in local magazines, promotional item designs for T-shirts, door decals, and enamel pins, social media graphics, and outdoor ads for bus benches and billboards. The team also completed promotional item designs like yard signs, postcards, and a trifold brochure, as well as La Palmera in-mall ads, among other touchpoints.   

“It’s a crazy day from start to finish, but it’s a lot of fun,” said Sierra Lutz, an Islander graphic design senior who has volunteered for ONE DAY for three years. “It’s important that our University has this relationship with AAF-CC because it gets students out there and shows them that there are possibilities with successful professionals in the community. Interacting in this environment teaches us the level of professionalism needed for when we graduate.”

At ONE DAY, the group entertained several creative directions before agreeing on a campaign theme and dividing into teams to create the assets during a vigorous work session that ran for nearly 12 hours. The collaborative volunteer effort resulted in a value of almost $65,000 in donated media and $30,000 in donated creative services which reflects standard media costs and advertising agency rates for brand identity, creative services, and advertising materials.

“Working with clients in a deadline-driven, goal-oriented environment is expected in the professional fields these students will enter into,” said Nancy Miller, Islander Graphic Design Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Art. “This fast-paced service-learning project drives students to apply imaginative creative strategy in response to client need, providing intensive agility training for participants.”

Additional Information 

This year, ONE DAY was generously supported by Goodway Group, Bill Richmond of Wienerschnitzel, and Elevated Screen Printing. All photos were contributed by Jason Page.