And the Emmy Goes to Duke's 'Merry & Bright'

Duke’s Digital and Brand Strategy (DBS) Team brought home a regional Emmy Award on Saturday night for the video “Merry & Bright” created at the height of the pandemic as a holiday greeting in late 2020.

DBS team members watched the virtual Midsouth Regional Emmy ceremony from laptops and cell phones. When Duke University was announced as winners of the Program Promotion category, team members exchanged celebratory calls, texts and e-mail messages among themselves while their pre-recorded acceptance message was broadcast on the show (below).

“We were nervous, of course. Once the shock subsided, the pride kicked in and we all shared in the excitement of having the team work recognized in such a meaningful way.” said Blyth Morrell, assistant vice president of digital and brand strategy.

The “Merry & Bright” message was created during a time when many staff, faculty and students were unable to return to campus. In addition to Morrell, University Communications Digital and Brand Strategy team members Julie Schoonmaker, Megan Mendenhall, Jared Lazarus, Bill Snead, Sam Huntley, Caroline Pate, Emily Frachtling, Robbie Glenn and Ashley Wolf helped bring the idea to fruition.

Filmed around dusk in December of 2020, the video features an upbeat message, cheery music and culminates with an aerial shot revealing hundreds of luminaries along Abele Quad, a single tree lit in blue twinkling lights and, in the distance, Duke University Chapel and Duke University Hospital bathed in the golden light of the setting sun.

“Winning an Emmy is such an honor. This really means so much because the video was created to bring a bit of light at such a dark time. The fact that this video continues to share a message of hope is especially meaningful,” said Schoonmaker, assistant director of multimedia.

Duke Athletics and Duke Arts also received Emmy nominations for their work. Duke Men’s Basketball creative content team was nominated in the categories of Sports Story/News Feature and Post-Produced Sports Program for its video on the Jones Family and for its Duke Blue Planet video program. Duke Arts was nominated in the Arts/Entertainment category for its student arts showcase. DBS was also nominated in the branded content category for producing a virtual 2020 Founders’ Day ceremony.