Students featured in halftime commercials for UI

Lights, camera and action: University students have the chance to be on nationally aired halftime commercials filmed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Robin Kaler, University spokeswoman, said more than 100 students will participate in the two 30-second commercials, which will air during the football and men’s basketball seasons on ABC, CBS, ESPN and Big Ten Network.

“We try to tell a story in 30 seconds,” she said.

Kaler added that the commercials feature “two students’ journeys at Illinois (with) five different experiences that each student had.”

Featured experiences include students doing volunteer work, performing at a piano concert, giving a class presentation, running for a student officer position, climbing the rock wall at the ARC and participating in a robot competition, Kaler added.

Cecilia Marizu, a graduate student and one of the commercial’s featured students, will star in a swimming scene because of her history as a swimmer and student athlete. There will also be a study abroad scene because of her trips to Kenya and Ecuador.

“You really can have so many different experiences at Illinois,” she said. “And they’re trying to capture that. They have the doors open to you.”

Marizu said being part of a commercial is something she has never done before, but she is excited for the new experience.

Kaler said the commercials’ storyline revolves around two University graduates meeting prospective employers. The employers will “literally be blown away” by them, indicated by scattered papers everywhere and hair blowing in the wind.

“Our students come to employers with all the skills that will blow employers away,” Kaler said. “We use humor to tell a story of excellence.”

Nell Madigan, assistant dean of the School of Labor and Employment Relations, said it is difficult to say how many University graduates are hired each year because not everyone fills out a senior survey and each office has different controls over students.

Madigan did point out, however, that the University was ranked in The Wall Street Journal as one of the top three universities where employers go to hire talent.

She said employers are looking for students with technical skills who are adaptable, confident in their leadership skills, want to continue to learn and are comfortable with ambiguity in a new environment.

University alumna Amy Brownback is now the senior video producer and editor for DAV productions, the company filming the commercial.

“Any chance we get to come back … we jump at it,” she said. “I love being part of Illinois projects. Illinois has a special place in our hearts.”

Brownback said some of her favorite spots in the area include Papa Del’s, Seven Saints and the Quad.

“We want people to get that Illinois grads are the people that you want to hire,” she said.

Kaler said more students can still participate in the Quad scene Wednesday for the commercial asking students to come at 3 p.m. and group on the south end of the Quad.

“The thing that sets Illinois apart is the quality of our students,” Kaler said.