Laura Stanley ’03 never thought her Marketing 325 project in Spring 2003 about a Northgate eatery could get her a job, but the award-winning project that was worth an “A” then is paying the bills now. As the marketing director of Freebirds World Burrito, Stanley can be credited for earning the corporation national publicity—and for landing a career that’s taken flight.

The foil-man commercials featuring stories of Freebirds “fanatics” and what they’ve done to get a burrito (illustrated by people made of foil) are part of Freebirds’ “it’s not normal” campaign that has caught the attention of more than local burrito buffs. In October, Nation’s Restaurant Newsawarded Freebirds the Excellence in Television Advertising (EAT) Award for producing the best TV commercial under $10,000. Stanley, in collaboration with Lyon Advertising/MediaCentric and PR firm BlabberMouth, made the commercial campaign possible.

Stanley also promotes the “it’s not normal” campaign by participating in Freebirds’ Freebikes program, bike to work day, monster fling, united we roll, Northgate Music Festival, feeding the NFL and open casting calls for “Amazing Race.” Freebirds’ renovated 1972 VW bus is also a marketing tool Stanley uses as she makes appearances at the Kids and Kars campaign in Austin and the Rot Rally Parade.

“Freebirds was a cool place to eat, but also distinguished itself from competition through ways of marketing and participating in the community,” Stanley said. “As I gathered information about the company and interviewed employees for my class project, I knew it was a place that was indeed “not normal.'”

Because of her quick entry into the corporate world, Stanley had to rely heavily on what she learned at Mays. “The education I received at Texas A&M definitely prepared me for the ‘real world’ working experience,” she said. “Freebirds is a great company to grow with.”

Since she started working for Freebirds in 2004, Stanley has been involved in the opening of seven stores, helping “the bird” migrate across Texas. With its 16 locations, people are flocking to Freebirds in Lubbock, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Austin and College Station.

And while Stanley has played a large role in helping Freebirds soar, she’s managed to stay grounded, spreading the word about “the bird”—one fanatic at a time.