Inclusivity in Communication: TAI Alumna, Kayla Griffis, and Professor, Dr. Alice Kendrick, publish The URICA! DE&I Model

In the field of marketing and communications, integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is extremely important. Recognizing this, TAI alumna, Kayla Griffis, a senior strategist at Saatchi & Saatchi, and Dr. Alice Kendrick, Professor of Advertising at Temerlin,  worked together to publish a new content creation model that emphasizes the importance of inclusivity. Dr. Kendrick was honored to present the URICA! Model in Oxford, England last summer at the Oxford Roundtable Symposium.

Left: Dr. Alice Kendrick, Right: Kayla Griffis

Published in the Forum on Public Policy, this study titled, Integrating DE&I into content creation: The URICA! Model, stands out as a versatile tool for embedding DE&I principles into the fabric of academic and corporate environments. The URICA! Model was originally pioneered by Kayla Griffis as a graduate student project for an advertising class led by Dr. Kendrick. It initially focused on addressing the insensitive spread of digital blackface on social media. This project evolved into a robust model designed to guide content creators through a comprehensive process to help team members determine DE&I objectives and avoid marketing missteps based on a lack of cultural sensitivity.

The core of the URICA! Model involves a series of sequential steps and considerations that assist creators in ensuring their messaging is inclusive and sensitive to diverse audiences. It encourages a thorough understanding of cultural nuances, informs strategic decisions with solid DE&I foundations, and carefully considers the potential impacts of messaging. The model’s flexibility makes it suitable for a wide range of applications, and was concept-tested for use anywhere from classroom discussions to strategic planning in large corporations.

“[The URICA! Model] was an attempt to offer an approach, tool or a series of questions or areas that should be covered to help ensure that messaging of all different sorts, whether it’s advertising, a blog, just a headline, a jingle, or even a visual, (especially a visual in some cases) are as mindful as possible of the societal realities in which they will be released. That is to say, some things are insulting to groups, and they’re not even necessarily intending to be. In fact, I think in most cases they are not. It’s just an oversight and a lack of ability to see a message from another’s point of view.” – Dr. Alice Kendrick

Throughout the study, recommendations from corporate strategists and advertising professors who evaluated the URICA! Model are discussed and implemented, and current DE&I information and resources for students and professionals are included. Dr. Kendrick noted that when reviewing the model in the advertising field, “agencies seemed very much in favor of something like this, that would lend some structure to a discussion about the sensitivity of messaging.”

Dr. Kendrick presented the URICA! Model at the Oxford Roundtable Symposium in Oxford, England, in the Summer of 2023. Her presentation highlighted how the model structures discussions around sensitive messaging and its potential to be applied across various industries and educational settings. Her presentation was well-received by the international audience, which included academics and professionals, underscoring the model’s relevance and applicability.

As the conversation around diversity and inclusion continues to gain momentum, tools like the URICA! Model are essential for fostering meaningful change. They guide content creators through the intricate process of integrating inclusivity into their work, and set new standards for responsible communication in our increasingly digital world.

Dr. Mark Allen Honored as AAF District 10 Outstanding Advertising Educator of the Year

This past Friday at the AAF District 10 National Student Advertising Competition award ceremony, Temerlin Advertising Institute’s very own Dr. Mark Allen was honored with the Outstanding Advertising Educator of the Year Award. This award aims to recognize professors who have made outstanding and unselfish contributions to the growth and improvement of advertising through the academic process.

Dr. Allen joined TAI in 2003 to help start and build a new creative program for aspiring art directors, copywriters and designers centered in Dallas. During his time here he has made a huge impact on the Institute and has become a Senior Lecturer and the Creative Program Director.

Dr. Allen’s love for his students has not gone unnoticed and his tireless dedication to supporting them and their success was noted in the speech given during the presentation of this award.  He tirelessly advocates for young creatives in their quest to find their voices in the wacky world of advertising.

One of his students said, “he selflessly dedicates the majority of his time to making sure his students have the best chance of success, sometimes to his detriment. He candidly tells us that we keep him up at night with thoughts of our futures where we go, and what we will accomplish.” 

Another said, “he is the most dedicated and selfless teacher I’ve ever had throughout my entire education. I’ve never met a teacher who is willing and happy to sacrifice his own well-being, if it means it will help one of his students succeed.” 

The presenter noted that he believes this is why professors teach: to inspire, to guide, and to illuminate the path.

Dr. Allen does just this. “He provides incentive, comfort, and stability to almost every student who walks through his door. Every time I’ve been on the precipice of admitting defeat, he has always been the voice at the end of the tunnel, reassuring me that I’m in the program for a reason and that as long as I work hard, everything will work out the way it’s supposed to,” said another student.

The Temerlin Advertising Institute is so proud of the work that Dr. Allen does every day, inside and outside of the classroom. We look forward to many more amazing years to come.



Dr. Joe Phua Publishes New Research on the Power of Emotional Messaging in Vaccine Communications

By Bella Cox and Liby Navarro

Dr. Joe Phua is a Professor and the Endowed Distinguished Chair at the Temerlin Advertising Institute at Southern Methodist University.  In 2011, he earned his Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. Throughout his career, Dr. Phua has worked with over $4.5 million in external research funded by distinguished organizations.  His research has explored new communication technologies, their impact on advertising and branding, and their application in sports marketing and health communications and have been featured in significant media outlets such as ABC News and National Public Radio (NPR).

Through his published work in some of the utmost journals, including the Journal of Advertising and Journal of Consumer Behavior, Dr. Phua has won awards from the International Communication Association (ICA), American Academy of Academy (AAA), and the International Communication Association (ICA), among many others.   

His most recent research titled, “Encouraging Positive Dialog Toward COVID-19 Vaccines on Social Media Using Hope Appeals, Celebrity Types, and Emoticons” was published in the journal,  Mass Communication & Society, and was conducted in conjunction with an international team of colleagues from Washington State University, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, and the University of Melbourne. This study evaluates how utilizing hope appeals, celebrity endorsements, and value emoticons shaped attitudes about COVID-19 vaccinations.  In addition, it discusses ongoing research to refine messaging strategies and improve the effectiveness of public health campaigns.  

For this research, Dr. Phua and his colleagues were interested in examining how social media posts by celebrity endorsers can influence their followers’ attitudes towards the COVID vaccine. Two experiments were conducted in the study:

In experiment one, they tested three celebrity endorser types (politician, scientist, athlete) and two message types (high and low relevance hope appeal). This experiment revealed that politicians posting low relevance hope appeal messages had the strongest effect on changing attitudes towards the COVID vaccine.

In experiment two, three emoticon types (positive, neutral, negative) and the same two message types (high and low relevance hope appeal) were used. It was concluded that neutral emoticons (wow, haha), rather than positive (like, love, hug) or negative (sad, angry) emoticons, had the strongest effect on changing attitudes towards the COVID vaccine.

For both experiments, it was concluded that the more someone strongly identified with the celebrity endorser posting the message, the more strongly their attitudes towards the COVID vaccine were changed.

Dr. Phua emphasized that “through examining COVID vaccine messages, this study was helpful to healthcare organizations who can be better prepared to use the most effective social media-based message strategies to combat and mitigate any major health pandemics that may arise in the future in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic.”

In addition, Dr. Phua recently visited Nanyang Technological University in Singapore to initiate research and teaching collaborations. 

Another Big Win at the 2024 District 10 ADDY Awards!

Our amazing creative students have won 14 ADDY Awards at the 2024 AAF District 10 competition. This is more awards than any other school in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana has won!

What’s even more impressive is that our students won as many awards as all the students from the University of Texas system, Texas A&M system, University of North Texas, Texas Tech University, and Texas Christian University put together!

The ADDY Awards are organized each year by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and is the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition. There are three tiers to the competition: local, district, and national. Each student who won Gold or Silver at the district level is now moving on to compete at the national level.

The winners of the national competition will be announced in early May and awards will be distributed at the AAF ADMERICA Conference in Salt Lake City later that month.

We’re so proud of our students and can’t wait to see how they do in the next round!

 The full list of Student AAF District 10 Winners can be found here.




Acorns (Special Judge’s Award in Copywriting) Maddie Otero & Morgan Martinez

Amtrak (Special Judge’s Award in Video) Timothy Chae and Blake Lyster



Skout’s Honor Pet Odor Eliminator / Helena Hargraves

Truth Initiative / Spencer Hogan, Bella Mac and Allie Weinstein (Art Direction)

Truth Initiative / Spencer Hogan, Bella Mac and Allie Weinstein (Poster Campaign)

Amtrak / Timothy Chae and Blake Lyster



Mountain House Camping Meals / Emma Clarke

Fender / Kailyn Sawhny and Helena Hargraves

Insomnia Cookies / Ross Yenerich

Seedlip / Callie Oden and Emma Clarke

FTND Pull Back From Porn / Tyler Chapman (Cinematography)

KILZ Primer / Spencer Hogan

Acorns / Maddie Otero & Morgan Martinez



Venmo /Juan Silva & Kaitlyn Blan

FTND Pull Back from Porn (TV Advertising) / Tyler Chapman

Willie Baronet Wins HOPE Professor of the Year Award

The Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence (HOPE) Banquet, organized by Southern Methodist University’s Residence Life and Student Housing (RLSH), serves as a symbol of appreciation for faculty excellence. It’s an annual event where students and educators come together to highlight the extraordinary efforts of professors who have gone above and beyond in enriching the educational journey of their students. This year, the spotlight was on Professor Willie Baronet, the Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising at SMU, who was honored with the prestigious HOPE Professor of the Year Award for his commitment to his students and his innovative teaching methods. This award aims to recognize his lasting impact at the Temerlin Advertising Institute and SMU community as a whole.

Creative student Roshan Gupta, a senior studying under Baronet, had the honor of delivering the speech that announced his professor as the HOPE Professor of the Year. Gupta’s words further emphasized Baronet’s influence on his students, saying,

“Willie has been by my side my entire college career…I can confidently say that Willie has had a tremendous impact on who I am today.”

Baronet’s approach to teaching is anything but conventional. His classes are a journey into the depths of creativity and self-exploration, pushing students to unveil parts of themselves and their imaginations they never knew existed. Gupta eloquently shared his transformative experience, stating,

“His classes are not for the faint of heart, and you are pushed to explore vulnerable parts of yourself and your imagination to create work that is fulfilling, meaningful, and intelligent.”

What sets Baronet apart is not just his ability to teach but to inspire. His dedication to cultivating an environment of diverse perspectives allows students to gain a deeper understanding of concepts and themselves.

“Willie transcends traditional teaching methods and implores us to dig as deep as we can into ourselves to find what drives us and gives us purpose.”  – Roshan Gupta

Beyond the classroom, Baronet’s commitment to his students is unparalleled. Whether it is driving to a photo shoot in the middle of the day, hopping on a Zoom call in the midst of his busy schedule, or spending hours just talking, his devotion knows no bounds. As Gupta aptly put it, “I don’t know a single other professor who devotes the same level of care and attention to detail that Willie does for his students inside and outside of the classroom.”

Before joining the academic world, Baronet was the creative director for GroupBaronet (now known as MasonBaronet). His work has also been featured in prestigious publications such as Communication Arts, Graphis, and AIGA Graphic Design Annual, among others. Baronet’s creativity has been recognized with numerous awards from respected organizations, including the Dallas Advertising League and the Dallas Society of Visual Communications, and he has shared his insights on creativity, leadership, and social responsibility with audiences nationwide, including TEDx, Creative Mornings, and more.

Beyond his professional achievements, Willie Baronet has engaged in impactful artistic endeavors, notably his long-term project titled “WE ARE ALL HOMELESS.” Since 1993, Baronet has been collecting signs from homeless individuals, transforming these artifacts into powerful narratives that challenge perceptions and foster empathy. This project has not only been featured across various media platforms but has also been showcased in exhibitions both in the U.S. and the UK.

Willie Baronet’s recognition of the 2024 HOPE Undergrad Professor of the Year Award is a testament to his exceptional role not only as an educator but as a mentor, guide, and inspiration to his students. His innovative teaching methods, coupled with his unwavering dedication, exemplify the best of academic leadership and the impact a passionate professor can have on the lives of their students.

Congratulations, Professor Baronet, on this well-deserved honor. The HOPE Professor of the Year Award is a fitting recognition of your tireless devotion to your students.

Celebrating Unprecedented Success: TAI Students Triumph at the Graphis International New Talent Annual

It’s with immense pride that TAI announces the monumental achievement of our creative students at the prestigious Graphis International New Talent Annual. They have outdone themselves, placing an astonishing 54 campaigns in the competition, surpassing our previous record of 40. This accomplishment is not just a milestone for us, it’s a recognition of the exceptional talent, hard work, and unwavering dedication of our students and faculty.

The Graphis International New Talent Annual is renowned for its rigorous competition, attracting entries from universities across the globe. Yet, every single student from both of our creative cohorts won at least one award each, and some as many as ten, an unprecedented achievement! Our success at the Dallas ADDYs last month was only the start of a great awards season.

“This is just the beginning of an amazing run this Spring with the DSVC National Student Show and Young Ones just around the corner.” – Mark Allen

Our students’ achievements will also garner recognition on an international stage. Gold and Silver winners will have the honor of their work being featured in the hard-back annual due for release this summer. Those who earned Honorable Mentions will find their names and project descriptions commemorated in the back of the same volume.

For anyone looking to celebrate these achievements or draw inspiration from these amazing works, we encourage you to pre-order a copy of the New Talent 2024 here.

Congratulations again to all the students, as well as professors Mark Allen, Willie Baronet, and Cheryl Mendenhall, for their extraordinary achievements. As we look forward to the upcoming showcases and competitions, we are excited to see what our talented cohorts will accomplish next.

Full list of awards:

Graphis International New Talent Annual // 2024 


Oreophoria / Maddie Otero and Savanna Hodes

Silva Auri Logo / Juan Silva

Alzheimer’s Association / Maddie Otero

1Password / Roshan Gupta and Kayla Hanrahan

Open AI / Timothy Chae and Savanna Hodes

Amtrak / Timothy Chae and Blake Lyster



BANYA Logo / Savanna Hodes

The Woods Logo / Savanna Hodes

Give Hugz Stuffed Animals Logo / Savanna Hodes

Maison Margiela REPLICA Fragrances / Morgan Martinez and Delaney Gendron

Skout’s Honor Pet Odor Eliminator / Helena Hargraves

Mountain House Camping Meals / Emma Clarke

Zildjian Cymbals / Timothy Chae and Ethan Jones

Fender / Kailyn Sawhny and Helena Hargraves

Insomnia Cookies / Ross Yenerich

Seedlip / Callie Oden and Emma Clarke

Evite / Caroline Davis and Blake Lyster

Hipcamp / Tyler Chapman and Linh Vu

Liquid IV / Nicole Zimmer and Andrea Torroni

AT&T It Can Wait / Roshan Gupta

L’Oréal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanner / Blake Lyster and Morgan Martinez

Shakespeare Pizza Logo / Ethan Jones

Drunk Elephant / Kaitlyn Blan and Caroline Davis

Mejuri / Roshan Gupta and Morgan Martinez

Edible Arrangements / Savanna Hodes

Smartwater / Juan Silva and Delaney Gendron

Truth Initiative / Anti-Vaping PSA / Spencer Hogan, Bella Mac and Allie Weinstein

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (Print) / Roshan Gupta and Maddie Otero

Allianz Travel Insurance / Sydney Sam and Hannah Jacobbe

QuietOn / Ethan Jones and Atenas Vijil

Runderwear / Callie Oden

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (TV) / Roshan Gupta and Maddie Otero

FTND Pull Back From Porn / Tyler Chapman

Unite America / Morgan Martinez



Womanizer Logo / Morgan Martinez

Tuft & Paw / Morgan Martinez

Cry Wolf Logo / Morgan Martinez

Martinez Business Card / Morgan Martinez

Waze Logo / Kaitlyn Blan

Roshan Ocean Business Card / Roshan Gupta

Plan Blake Business Card / Blake Lyster

Stickermule / Juan Silva and Ethan Jones

ELF Cosmetics Logo / Juan Silva

Lovense Adult Toys Logo / Kaitlyn Blan

Acorns (Integrated) Maddie Otero & Morgan Martinez

Venmo /Juan Silva & Kaitlyn Blan

KILZ Primer / Spencer Hogan

RESY / Kayla Hanrahan and Savanna Hodes

Harry Potter World / Emma Georghakis and Will McKinnie

Acorns (Video) / Maddie Otero & Morgan Martinez

H&R Block / Linh Vu

Duolingo / Ethan Jones and Caroline Davis

TaskRabbit / Atenas Vijil and Timothy Chae

Dixie Ultra / Kaitlyn Blan & Caroline Davis