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Advertising students tackle clients head-on

Antony Perry

22 November 2017: It’s the moment you spend all of university preparing for, but there’s nothing quite like being tossed in the deep end for the first time.

That was the scenario final year advertising students faced when putting their skills to the test in front of real-life clients at the 2017 University of Canberra Advertising Awards.

The event, now in its second year, sees students pitch their advertising campaigns to local organisations in the hope of having them implemented by the clients.

It’s the culmination of a semester-long project in which students work in groups to develop industry standard campaigns.

The organisations involved this year were McDonald’s North Canberra, Super Rugby club the ACT Brumbies, and the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, the sole representative body for Indigenous nurses and midwives in 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.

“It’s an integrative learning experience that uses the advertising concepts and processes that students have been exposed to throughout their degree,” Ms Ranasinghe said.

“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.”

While senior marketers from the client companies choose their winners, four major category awards were judged by a panel of professionals drawn from Canberra's research, creative and media agencies.

The event was attended by staff, students, their friends and families and industry professionals. Among the guests were representatives from Zoo Group, Coordinate, The Mark Agency, Mude and Screencraft.

International Advertising Association Australia Chairman Heather Leembruggen attended the event as a special guest. She praised the initiative as an essential learning experience for students.

“The International Advertising Association commends the University of Canberra for introducing the Advertising Awards to stimulate the professional development of its students,” she said.

“This program provides the valuable opportunity for students to think critically and sharpen their communication skills and talents in a real world, hands-on learning experience that is essential career training in the preparation of graduates for the transition from university into professional practice.”

The Client Choice Winners and Major Category Awards are listed below:

The Client Choice Award from McDonald's North Canberra was judged by Operations Manager Mathew Peters.

Winner – Muse.

First runner-up – Left Field.

Second runner-up – Think Rubbix.

The Client Choice Award from the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives was judged by Executive Service Manager Chloe Peters.

Winner – Four Peaches .

First runner-up – Open Hands.  

Second runner-up – We Can.

The Client Choice Award from the ACT Brumbies was judged by Brand Manager Megan Malcom.

Winner – Creative Elite.

First runner-up – The Scrummage.

Second runner-up – GenieUs.

Best Research Conducted was judged by Adam Allanson, Associate Partner of ORIMA Research.

Winner – Creative Elite.

Best Strategy Direction was judged by Lavinia Thurairatnam, General Manager of Soda Strategic.

Winner – Muse.

Best Creative Concept was judged by Nick Samaras, Founder & Publisher of Canberra Weekly.

Winner – Open Hands.

Best Media Selection was judged by Lauren Etcell, Client Service Director of Dentsu Mitchell.

Winner – The Scrummage.

People’s Choice.

Winner – Muse.