Dillo Day 2012 safety campaign wins national competition

Suyeon Son, Reporter

Armie and Dillan, the figurine armadillos that made their debut during last year’s Dillo Day safety campaign, have already made it big, bringing home the “Best of Show” award this week from the 2013 Association of College Unions International “Steal this Idea” competition.

The national graphic design and marketing competition received more than 400 submissions from different institutions and gave the award to Northwestern’s “Smart Dillo” campaign. Student Affairs Marketing graphic arts designer Judy Suh, who led the campaign, said she will be attending the annual ACUI conference March 12 in St. Louis to receive recognition. The work will also be featured in the July 2013 edition of The Bulletin magazine.

“I don’t think it really hit me as to what winning this meant,” the Communication senior said. “It’s been so exciting.”

Suh said she was inspired by Indiana University’s safety campaign “Street Smart,” spearheaded for the school’s version of Dillo Day, which similarly featured animal figures in the promotion. She found armadillo figurines on the internet for $20 and used them as the centerpieces for her photography and design work, which captured Armie and Dillan in different scenarios encouraging safe behavior.

“The figurines are actually beer can holders, which is so ironic,” she said. “A lot of the ideas came from just playing around with them, seeing the various things they could hold and having fun with it.”

Lisa Currie, director of Health Promotion and Awareness at NU, said her department worked with the Dean of Students Office to talk about which direction they wanted to take with the year’s safety promotion. The idea was then presented to the Student Affairs Marketing team, which translated it into a design, Suh said.

“The campaigns hadn’t been refreshed in the past years,” Currie said.

James McHaley, assistant director of the Norris University Center for Student Affairs Marketing, who supervised Suh in her work, said the safety campaigns were previously more negative and took on an apprehensive tone.

“This year we used humor, which certainly gave the campaign a lot of life,” he said. “We also engaged students through different ways, like social media, showing the armadillos around campus.”

Currie and McHaley said they suspected the armadillos will make a reappearance for this year’s Dillo Day, given the promotion’s success due to both the efforts of Suh and Medill senior Gabby Peterson, Student Affairs Marketing’s communications supervisor.

“People get it immediately,” Currie said. “They didn’t have that catchiness to them last year.”