Haley BuchnerAdvertising Graduate (’15) • Award-Winning Art Director

Two months before her spring 2015 graduation, Haley Buchner pulled some of the hardest all-nighters of her life. For three weeks, she and her two teammates—Steph Hayden and Rachel Edwards—spent their nights and weekends working on their entries to the prestigious Young Ones international advertising contest. Their goal, set by the contest organizers, was to develop a product idea and advertising campaign around the theme of kids and technology.  Their solution was groundbreaking: a workbook printed in conductive ink, helping kids to recycle old household electronics and learn the basics of electrical engineering.

The idea, called Inkventions, represented everything Buchner loves about advertising. “I knew that I wanted to have a career that would allow me to make a cultural impact in some way,” she says.  The idea that the right fusion of artistic creativity and business insight can change popular culture drew her to advertising as a sophomore. And her team created its contest entry with this idea in mind.

The Inkventions workbook would be printed in conductive ink, transforming the pages into circuit boards. With tips from the workbook, kids could find and disassemble old household electronics, plugging the parts into the printed circuit boards. Buchner’s team envisioned IBM as a corporate sponsor of the workbook, making the company an advocate for both a new style of technology education and electronic waste reduction. While the project—like all Young Ones student entries—was only a hypothetical product, the team produced a video and series of graphics to promote their concept.

“I loved my intro to creative class. I couldn’t believe that was a class I could come to college and get credit for.”

- Haley Buchner

At the Young Ones awards in New York City, Inkventions won a silver award.  It was the second year Buchner had won silver. “You just felt on top of the world,” she remembers. “We were getting multiple job offers at the top companies—everywhere we wanted to work.” In addition to her team, 11 other CU-Boulder students took home awards.

Buchner credits the drive of CU advertising students for much of this success. “The amount of time that the kids who do really well in the advertising program spent working on stuff is insane. We pulled all-nighters after all-nighters after all-nighters for two years,” she explains. “Everyone is really focused.”

For Buchner, that hard work paid creative dividends. A few months after graduation, she moved to New York City to work as an art director at Johannes Leonardo, a top advertising firm. She’s excited to work for a small firm that does work for big clients. She especially likes their recent Adidas Superstar campaign, which re-launched Adidas’s classic shoe with a message that challenged our culture’s obsession with fame.  “It’s exactly the kind of campaign with cultural impact that first attracted me to advertising.”

Buchner’s team produced a short video to demonstrate the Inkventions concept.