Three-Peat First-Place Win for Columbia's L'Oréal Brandstorm Team

PhotoColumbia's team from left to right: Nimat Umardeen (Design Management major and Fashion Studies minor), Jorden Smith (Advertising major), and Juan Osorio (Advertising major) .
Student team from Columbia College Chicago wins innovation competition by leveraging new technologies to promote brand.

Columbia College Chicago won first place in the L'Oréal Brandstorm 2023 USA Finals on Thursday, March 30, 2023. This achievement marks the third year in a row that a Columbia College Chicago team has won first place. 

The winning student team includes two seniors: Juan Osorio (Advertising major) and Jorden Smith (Advertising major) and a freshman, Nimat Umardeen (Design Management major and Fashion Studies minor). 

“We are so very proud of our students,” says Associate Chair and Associate Professor in CommunicationPeg Murphy. “Competitions like this not only give our students a chance to shine but gives them valuable industry experience.” Murphy, along with Director of Scholarship Initiatives and Associate Professor in Fashion Studies  Dana Connell, helped guide students through the competition.  

Brandstorm is an international innovation competition organized every year by L'Oréal that brings together ambitious students from all over the world. The competition gives students the chance to tackle a real business case, gain new skills and engage with industry experts. 

This year's mission: To invent augmented products, services, experiences, or solutions, empowered by new technologies to change the landscape of beauty and L'Oréal customers experience products. With the theme “Crack the New Codes of Beauty,” the competition asked teams to leverage the playing fields of augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, gaming, and/or the metaverse.  

According to Connell and Murphy, the Columbia team’s concept addresses ongoing toxicity issues within the gaming environment, reinforcing positive interactions among all players. The partnership offers players both in-game cosmetic skins and real-life cosmetics from the L'Oréal family of brands. 

“Our team was able to see past what a lot of the competitor teams would go for, and we really went for gaming,” Smith says. “We had a feeling that many teams would reach into the metaverse and in virtual reality, so we wanted to try and be bold by going a different direction.” 

The competition gave students the chance to showcase Columbia’s strengths. 

“This year’s L'Oréal Brandstorm competition really highlights the uniqueness of Columbia College Chicago, bringing together multiple disciplines imagining a real-world opportunity for L'Oréal in the $200-plus billion gaming industry,” Connell says.  

The L'Oréal Brandstorm 2023 USA competition involved 365 universities, with 1,483 students participating.  

Columbia  was selected as the only US team to continue to the global semi-finals.   

As the winner of the USA National Final, the team from Columbia will prepare for the international semi-finals involving 46 teams. Ten of the 46 teams will then be invited to the international finals in Paris. Winning teams will earn a 3-month intrapreneurship with L'Oréal Paris headquarters. The international finalists will be announced on May 12, 2023.

Congratulations to the entire team on this impressive accomplishment!