Now in its sixth year, the Publicity Association for Northern Ireland (PANI)’s Education Programme, which supports future creatives and marketers within the advertising and publicity industry, celebrated another successful student-industry collaboration this month in its search for live campaign ideas for leading charity Age NI.
Six advertising agencies from PANI including Ardmore, ASG, AV Browne, Mammoth, RLA and Walkers teamed up with students from the University of Ulster’s Communications Advertising and Marketing (CAM) course and the Graphic Design & Illustration course to create a commercial pitch to increase awareness of Age NI and specifically, to increase calls to the charity’s helpline number.
This year’s winning team was a group of students including Lucia Cerda, Rebecca Russell, Elliot Lyness and Marleta Bailie, who were mentored by agency RLA, and who will see their ‘Age is Just a Number’ campaign come to life on Clear Channel 48 sheet billboards around Belfast at the end of August.
Siobhan Casey, Marketing Director at Age NI, said: “We were delighted with the standard of work produced by the students and how insightful their research was into issues affecting people in later life. It was great to see the relationships they developed with clients when they visited one of our Age NI day centres. It was very clear that they had developed a deep understanding of the needs of older people and the role of Age NI before producing the final work. We’re also very grateful to the agencies for their time in mentoring the students. And of course to Clear Channel and other media owners, who supply media space free of charge to support this programme – and our campaign.”
Chair of PANI Cathy Martin, who judged the entries with Siobhan, added: “I loved the selection of straplines, photography and deep conceptual links as well as the quirky below-the-line advertising and marketing ideas that the teams came up with. It was a challenging brief for students, however I was really pleased to see that the teams went well beyond their academic capabilities to show some genuine commercial and creative flair which touched exactly upon the brief. I’m looking forward to seeing the winning campaign going live across billboards later this year and of course hoping that it will meet the objectives in increasing calls to the Age NI Advice Service.”
Speaking about the judging process, freelance copywriter Conor Kelly said, “There was a remarkable unanimity among the panel. Usually there is a lot more difference in opinion, but in this case the winning team not only produced what we all agreed was the best concept, it was clearly also the best presented. They worked very well together, understood exactly what they had to do, and they delivered – just like a professional agency should do. Very impressive stuff.”
Jackie Cullen, Creative Director from RLA Ireland, who mentored the winning team, said: “The PANI workshops are a great way for students to take a step into the future, have a look around at life inside an agency and see if they like it. Getting to work on a live brief gives them a true insight into the various roles they could work in when graduating and they also get to make valuable contacts in the industry. The mentoring agencies also get to meet the future stars of the marketing industry and many of them go on to hire students from the workshops. So everyone wins.”
Liam McComish, Course Director, from the University of Ulster School of Art, said: “Each year our University of Ulster CAM and Graphic Design & Illustration students love to get involved with the PANI Education Programme, it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to see how it all is put together in a non-academic, real and live commercial situation. They come back with great ideas, excellent contacts, new- found skills, and a drive to making a career in the advertising and publicity industry. We’re very grateful to PANI for facilitating such a fantastic opportunity to work on a live project each and every year.”