The 2023 ‘Young Ones Student Awards’ Are Out—These Students Nailed It

For the 2023 Young Ones Student Awards—one of the world’s top competitive showcases for advertising, digital communication, and design—students from around the globe used their empathy and creativity to challenge speciesism, a belief in human supremacy that leads to discrimination against other animals.

Many super-creative students made captivating ad campaigns encouraging viewers to leave animals off their plates and out of their closets. Here are some of the most imaginative projects that seriously had us shook:

‘All Pain Sounds the Same’

Our fellow animals have a voice—we just need to listen. “All Pain Sounds the Same,” created by Emily “Emula” Aldin from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, highlights humans’ natural instinct to help someone who’s crying out, regardless of species. Aldin filmed a low-key genius experiment to show this instinct play out in real time and to urge folks never to support industries that exploit or abuse animals.

‘Every Baby Has a Mother’

“Every Baby Has a Mother,” created by Brigham Young University’s (BYU) AdLab in Provo, Utah, is a stop-motion short about a sweet bond between a mother snake and her baby that’s tragically broken by the exotic-skins industry.

This entry demonstrates why no one should ever buy products made from reptiles’ skin. Reptiles exploited in the exotic-skins industry are forced to endure excruciating deaths—a PETA Asia investigation found that workers in Vietnam killed snakes by inflating them with compressed air. The heartbreaking project does a great job of showing that snakes and other reptiles are individuals with families and interests of their own, not mere accessories.

‘Love Is Human’

Another BYU AdLab entry, “Love Is Human,” portrays the sweet relationship between two lovesick pigeons. In just 30 seconds, it reveals that these birds experience romance and mate for life—just as humans often do. Our fellow animals deserve to enjoy their hot date nights and savor their lifelong relationships free of human cruelty.

‘Lil’ Luxury Lucy’

Here’s a spoof that will catch you off guard. “Lil’ Luxury Lucy” by BYU AdLab is a satirical ad for a doll that takes a dark turn when it reveals how kids dress up the doll—by violently tearing off a cow’s skin and a sheep’s wool. 😶

This may leave viewers feeling uneasy, but it shows how cruel industries mass-produce animal-derived clothing. In the wool industry, for example, workers remove wool from gentle, defenseless sheep with sharp tools, often leaving the animals with painful, bloody wounds. If you’re sickened by seeing this gory concept portrayed with stuffed animals, you should never buy products made of leather, wool, or any other animal-derived materials in order to avoid supporting industries that torture real cows and sheep.

‘Everyone Has a Mom’

Image from ad campaign created by Himali Glor, Parker Ruiz, and Logan Robertson for the 2023 Young Ones Student Awards called "Everyone Has a Mom"
Image from ad campaign created by Himali Glor, Parker Ruiz, and Logan Robertson for the 2023 Young Ones Student Awards called "Everyone Has a Mom"
Image from ad campaign created by Himali Glor, Parker Ruiz, and Logan Robertson for the 2023 Young Ones Student Awards called "Everyone Has a Mom"

University of Oregon students Himali Glor, Parker Ruiz, and Logan Robertson created their “Everyone Has a Mom” ad to show that the close bond between mothers and their babies exists across all species and to describe the lengths mothers will go to when protecting or grieving for their children.

The dairy industry, though, doesn’t care—workers tear calves away from their mothers within a day of their birth, leaving the mothers to cry out for their babies for days. Experimenters in labs across the country also separate newborn monkeys from their moms and lock them in cold metal cages, where they often spend the rest of their lives biting at their own limbs and pacing back and forth.

“Everyone Has a Mom” makes it clear that we should respect the bond that all mothers share with their young.

‘Animals Anonymous’

“Animals Anonymous” is a powerful video by Andrew Grechko and MJ Park from New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology. It looks like an ad for a winter jacket—at least in the first half. Then, the twist hits like a ton of bricks. This video creatively defends birds who are live-plucked for down and makes people really think about who they may be wearing.

‘No Escape’

[TW: panic/claustrophobia]

Kayla Matthews, Kiki Farrar, and Owen Drawbaugh from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit made “No Escape” to help viewers consider how billions of animals suffer in cramped and filthy conditions in labs, on farms, at roadside zoos, in breeding facilities, and elsewhere for their entire lives.

In the video, someone appears to get stuck in a crowded elevator with no way to escape. If you feel claustrophobic just reading that, imagine being imprisoned in such a hellscape for the rest of your life.

‘Let’s Switch Places’

Image from ad campaign created by Youser Kassim for the 2023 Young Ones Student Awards called "Let's Switch Places"

“Let’s Switch Places,” created by Youser Kassim from the University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Fine Arts and Design, is a provocative photo series that appears to show human body parts packaged and sold as meat. Pretty gross, amirite? But just switch the body parts to those of cows or chickens and suddenly it’s socially acceptable. 🤔

This entry reminds consumers that all animals—including humans—are made of flesh, blood, and bone and that anyone who eats meat eats corpses. The shocking campaign urges people to think twice about who is on their plate.


Image from ad campaign created by Jeff Deng for the 2023 Young Ones Student Awards called "Progress?"
Image from ad campaign created by Jeff Deng for the 2023 Young Ones Student Awards called "Progress?"

Let’s be real: Humans can do some amazing things, but we often focus on the wrong things. Where’s the progress for our fellow animals? Jeff Deng from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, created this ad to call our species out. While we benefit from modern comforts, much of the fashion industry is stuck in the past.

We can do so much with modern technology that there’s no reason for billions of living, feeling beings to suffer and die each year for clothes and accessories. These items can easily be made using vegan materials.


Do you love pranks that have a thoughtful purpose? Gabriel Santos and João Victor Eustachio from CUCA–School of Creative in São Paulo, Brazil, made this video, which has gone viral, to highlight how wild animals suffer in miserable conditions. They created “Fortnitemare,” a concept in which Fortnite players are “trapped” during the game.

Players who got trapped were raging mad at first—until they learned the true intentions behind “Fortnitemare” and started to consider how frustrating and terrifying it must be for animals held captive at roadside zoos, marine parks, and other seedy facilities that exploit them for entertainment.

Help Fight Speciesism

From humans to hens, all animals are made of flesh and blood, feel pain and fear, want freedom, love their offspring, have unique personalities, and cherish their own lives. We should value everyone for who they are as an individual, not for the ways they can be exploited. ❤️

You can use your unique talents to fight speciesism, just as these creative students did. In the animal rights movement, there are tons of opportunities to write, speak, draw, organize, and apply any other strengths you may have. And the next time you have an open-ended school project, use it as a chance to inform others about cruelty to animals and how they can help make a difference.

Text peta2 to 30933 for ways to help animals, tips on compassionate living, and more!

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