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UC advertising students woo real-life clients

Antony Perry

17 November 2016: It’s a skill many budding advertising professionals don’t perfect until they enter the workforce, but final year students at the University of Canberra are well on their way to mastering the art of ‘pitching’.

Bachelor of Advertising students had the unique opportunity to pitch their campaign ideas to real-life clients at the inaugural University of Canberra Advertising Awards held on 10 November.

The awards event was the culmination of a semester-long project which saw students work in groups to develop an advertising campaign for their designated client.

Organisations involved included Cancer Council ACT, McDonald’s, Pizza Autentico and United Way, a not-for-profit organisation working to improve communities around Australia.

The event is the brainchild of advertising lecturer Shara Ranasinghe. Ms Ranasinghe said the project was mutually beneficial for both students and the organisations involved.

“This is the first time our advertising students have had the opportunity to work with real-life clients while they are still studying,” Ms Ranasinghe said.

“It’s an integrative learning experience using the advertising concepts and processes that students have been exposed to throughout their degree. They are able to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to a situation they will encounter down the track as an advertising professional.

“But it’s not just the students who are benefitting. The clients we engaged with can choose the campaign they like best and use it to promote their business and products.”

The project required students to produce a short video introducing their agency to the client and then develop a LinkedIn page. They were then briefed on the clients’ needs and dealt directly with company representatives throughout the campaign development process.

Industry professionals were engaged to judge groups on their research, strategic direction, creative concepts and choice of media.

The judging panel included members of the local advertising community as well as Heather Leembruggen, president of the International Advertising Association’s Australian chapter. Ms Leembruggen said it was an honour to be involved in the inaugural event.

“This event was a wonderful learning experience for students, one that would have helped them gain valuable industry know-how,” Ms Leembruggen said.

“The overall standard of the presentations was very high. The students can be proud of what they achieved.”

Logan Knight, the creative director of Canberra-based creative agency Coordinate, was equally impressed.

“All of the presentations were fantastic and I think the advertising and marketing industry in Canberra is in safe hands,” Mr Knight said.

The University of Canberra Advertising and Marketing Society assisted in the planning and staging of the awards. The society’s president, Jordan James, said it was a great way to cap off three years of study.

“Our society does a lot of industry trips where we visit advertising and media agencies and this project has confirmed what I’ve seen in the real world,” Mr James said.

“Being able to work with a client and bring an idea from nothing to something that is able to be used has been an invaluable experience.”

Main category winners:

Best Research Conducted – Coast 2 Coast (Troy Guy, Chelsea Agno, Jacky Chan, John Wu)

Best Strategic Direction – AdCan (Jordan James, Reza Adi, Patricia Ryan, Blake Hayward)

Best Creative Concept – Impact Advertising (Samantha Mitchell, Chloe O'Hallaran, Molly Li & Roy Sun)

Best Media Selection – Intercontinental (Cassandra Mathews, Golf Laohapongchana, Suthida Janphum & Judith Ramesh)

People's Choice – Eighty Two (Gabriella Byrnes, Tash Sparke, Leonora Morey, Yuting Lu)

Client choice winners:

Cancer Council ACT - Three Crumbs – (Ashley Maloney, Rachel Hill & Chris McEwan)

United Way Australia – Eighty Two (Gabriella Byrnes, Tash Sparke, Leonora Morey, Yuting Lu)

McDonald's North Canberra – AdCan (Jordan James, Reza Adi, Patricia Ryan, Blake Hayward)

Pizza Autentico - Coast 2 Coast (Troy Guy, Chelsea Agno, Jacky Chan, John Wu)