Montana State University

MSU commercial, magazine win honors at national competition

July 5, 2016

An MSU television ad that was judged the top university commercial or public service announcement in the country in the CASE Circle of Excellence featured the team of MSU alumni and faculty who made the popular mustang documentary “Unbranded.” Members of the team featured in the ad included (left to right): Dennis Aig, director of the MSU School of Film and Photography who produced “Unbranded,” and MSU alumni Katie Roberts, Sam Hedlund, Phillip Baribeau, Paul Quigley, Will Lake Springstead. Photo by Scott Chestnut and Andy Hahn, who are not pictured.

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – A Montana State University institutional commercial about the making of the documentary “Unbranded” by MSU faculty and graduates was honored as the top university commercial or public service announcement in the country at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s 2016 national Circle of Excellence awards program.

The commercial spot was one of two MSU entries honored in the competitive annual contest for colleges and universities across the country. “Mountains and Minds,” the university’s flagship magazine produced in-house by MSU University Communications staff members, won a bronze medal for the best general interest magazine with a circulation of fewer than 29,999.

The “Unbranded” advertisement, which was also produced in-house, highlighted the work of the MSU film graduates, faculty and staff who made the popular mustang documentary “Unbranded.” Judges in the category said that the MSU ad was “Superb. Authentic. Good example of cross-promotion of University, program, alumni success. Great production value, specific messaging, sound is amazing.”

The CASE gold medal is the second recent major award for the MSU advertisement, which last month won the Emmy for single spot commercial at the 53rd Annual Northwest Regional Emmy Awards held in Seattle.

Julie Kipfer, MSU director of marketing who served as the executive producer of the commercial spot, said part of the success of the commercial was due to the connection to the wonderful story of the “Unbranded” documentary about an epic adventure undertaken by four young Texans who rode mustangs 3,000 miles along the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada. Kipfer points out that the talents of the MSU crew, including cinematography, direction, production and editing were great contributors to the documentary’s unbridled success. “Unbranded” has won more than two dozen awards and has been an audience favorite at film festivals across North America and overseas.

“Led by MSU film grad Phillip Baribeau, director and co-cinematographer, 17 members of the award-winning documentary’s crew were MSU faculty, students or alumni,” Kipfer said. She added that Dennis Aig, MSU film faculty, served as producer, Scott Chestnut, an MSU graduate who is a Hollywood film editor, served as editor for the documentary, and Alison Reidmohr, marketing strategist served as co-writer.

“The MSU ad, co-directed by Aig and Chestnut, featured six members of the film’s crew and highlighted the can-do work ethic developed by the MSU film school. It’s been one of the most successful and popular MSU ads we have produced.”

It is the third straight year that MSU’s university magazine has medaled in the Circle of Excellence competition. Judges in the competition praised the magazines link to the Montana landscape and for delivering a “consistent message that resonates with readers and reinforces a bond with Montana State University.” Earlier this year “Mountains and Minds” received the CASE District VIII Grand Gold award for the best magazine produced by colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada.

Tracy Ellig, executive director of University Communications, said the two national CASE awards are reflective of the talent on staff in the University Communications department.

"MSU is honored and humbled to be recognized in this prestigious competition of all colleges and universities in the country and even the world,” said Ellig, who pointed out that the CASE Circle of Excellence competition garnered more than 3,000 entries from 185 institutions in the U.S. and nine other countries. “These awards are a wonderful validation of the hard work put in on a daily basis by the members of our team."



Tracy Ellig (406) 994-5607,