Praise heaped on AUT students for top PR campaigns

A highly successful PR campaign for the New Zealand Rugby Foundation (NZRF) has won a group of AUT Communications students the annual Network PR Practice Award, which recognises excellence in the planning and executing of real life campaigns for not-for-profit organisations. 

The award is open to third year and post-graduate students in the Bachelor of Communications and Post Graduate Diploma in Communications at AUT University for work they do in their final year of study. All Communications students were invited to submit their project to be eligible and four finalist groups were then invited to present to the judging panel.

The winning group (Isaac Banks, Victoria Ellis, Angela Pointon, James Roberts and Safia van der Zwan) organised a celebrity wheelchair rugby match to raise the profile of the NZRF’s No8 brand and created a valuable online sponsorship platform for the organisation.

The team of Kate Allinson, Courtney Bennett, Moniquea Frear and Jess Miller, who supported a rebranding of the Gynaecological Cancer Foundation, took runner-up spot. And the student groups working for the Sophie Elliot Foundation (Kristina Adell, Naomi Ball, Tereza Burgess, Jordan Schuler and Pavel Zivnustka) and the Great Potentials Foundation (Charissa Burchell, Maia Harrison, Robert Steven and Nicole Wall) were also recognised as finalists.

Network PR’s Auckland general manager Jane Dodd says the teams demonstrated a good grasp of what makes a successful PR campaign “and it is very exciting to see such capable and enthusiastic young practitioners entering the profession”.

AUT’s head of PR and communications management, Joseph Peart, says the award gives students the chance to hone their presentation skills and learn what is required in a professional pitching situation.

“We’re delighted that Network PR’s sponsorship provides our students with this opportunity to showcase their work in front of an industry judging panel. This presentation demands that they measure results and are accountable for the outcomes according to professional best practice.”

Guest judge Jennifer Baird, marketing manager for Auckland real estate company Barfoot & Thompson, says the teams have created an excellent foundation for their clients that will endure beyond their involvement in the project.

Over four months, AUT University students run their own public relations agency, Outside the Square, in which they work voluntarily, under supervision, for non-profit clients. Each year, more than 20 AUT student projects provide clients with project management and publicity valued between $5,000 and $20,000 per campaign.

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