Students in Dr. Arpan Yagnik’s fall 2017 COMM 320 Introduction to Advertising class were given the chance to try their hand at tagline writing for a real product—the Zaky, a pair of ergonomically-designed simulated “hands” that cradle a premature baby when his or her parents cannot.
Designed for use with infants in a neonatal intensive care unit who would greatly benefit from human contact, the Zaky holds the scent of the mother or father and simulates the shape, touch, warmth, and weight of an adult hand and forearm.
Yagnik, assistant professor of advertising, has a working relationship with Zaky’s inventor, Dr. Yamile Jackson, who designed the product after giving birth to her son prematurely. Yagnik’s students have worked on a variety of projects for Jackson.
“For the tagline challenge, each student was required to submit five taglines that conveyed the goals Jackson provided to them,” Yagnik said.
Each proposed tagline was discussed in class, then Yagnik told students to narrow their submissions down to three.
“That’s tough for them because students tend to be very attached to their ideas and fight vehemently to defend them,” he said. “It’s important that they get used to hearing and, more importantly, learning from constructive criticism. But, again, learning to let go of one’s ideas is something they may as well practice as it’s going to happen regularly in the real world.”
The pared list of taglines was sent to Jackson. Her team chose two winning taglines: “The Touch of Life” by Alina Sharkey, a junior communication major, and “Bringing Families Together” by Brenden Dollard, a sophomore communication major.