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BYU duo win Telly Award by a nose

Nasal talent is put to good use in ad for peanut butter cookies

Published: Tuesday, July 26 2005 9:12 a.m. MDT

BYU students Tanner Christensen, left, and Andy Bean recently won an international 2005 Telly Award for a 30-second spot in which Andy sticks his finger all the way up his nose as he waits at a bus stop.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

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PROVO — Some Brigham Young University students don't know when to quit.

One had a unique talent for nasal exploration. Another, who made a commercial for a class, spent $60 to enter it in an international contest — even though it didn't finish in the top three in the class.

Put these two Utahns together and the result is a 2005 Telly Award for an outstanding non-network commercial.

The son of a Utah filmmaker, business major Tanner Christensen was waiting for the right video vehicle to exploit roommate Andy Bean's talent for in-depth nasal exploration, and he got it this spring when a professor gave Christensen's marketing class an assignment to film a commercial.

That's how Bean found himself at a bus stop on University Avenue — with a camera rolling — looking furtively about before inserting his right pinky all the way up his right nostril.

The commercial for a peanut butter cookie smothered in chocolate ends with the tag line, "Some people don't know when to quit," and then, "Once you start to crave, you won't be able to."

It's all on film, and it's a Telly Award winner.

All that means, Christensen said, is that the Telly judges aren't picky.

"My dad told me the Tellys were reputable," Christensen said. "I'm not sure it is now that we've won one. I thought I was in way over my head, but now I really question the integrity of the entire festival."

The 26th Annual Telly Awards received more than 10,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries. Past winners include Microsoft and other major companies represented by big ad agencies.

Tanner Christensen's BYU instructor, assistant professor of marketing Chad Allred, said the assignment was about the product development life cycle. Students had to take a product from development through surveys, designing, kitchen work, packaging and then the semester-ending commercials.

Ads, of course, should generate buzz. Christensen and Bean clearly took a hands-on approach.

"This one has a unique attention-grabbing component," Allred said. "For the right kind of product, that could really grab you."

Reaction in the class was split.

"Half the class was laughing and the other half was groaning, begging me not to show it again," Christensen said.

After a story in the school newspaper, Bean became a minor campus celebrity. He worried prospective dates would be grossed out when they heard about his star turn, but a BYU coed recently waited while Bean finished an interview with a newspaper reporter.

"She knows and she's still sticking around," he said. "That's a positive."

Christensen's filmmaking talents may come from his father, T.C. Christensen, cinematographer for the first "Work and the Glory" movie and a mentor to "Napoleon Dynamite" director Jared Hess.

Bean doesn't believe his unique skill was inherited or learned from his father.

"My dad's a banker," he said.


E-mail: twalch@desnews.com

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