Bournemouth team wins student pitch competition

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The Amilla finalists produced posters displaying their approach to the brief
The Amilla finalists produced posters displaying their approach to the brief

This is an article by Fleurie Forbes-Martin. 

The Amilla competition was initiated this academic year by Bournemouth University as a means of encouraging ‘healthy competition’ between PR students.

After the initial entry stage, five teams from Bournemouth and Leeds Metropolitan were short-listed for the final, setting the stage for an interesting rivalry between the two universities, both of which share individual reputations for offering high quality PR degrees to their students. It also set undergraduate against postgraduate students.

With the final five groups selected – Bournemouth’s ACBC, Vitality and Willoonello and Leeds Met’s Arctic Tern Communications and P Artists, the teams had just one month to finalise their ideas and create a winning pitch to accommodate the challenging and thought-provoking brief for residential care home provider, Anchor.

The five teams made their way into the heart of London on the morning of the 23 May. Once at Grayling’s head office on Lexington Street in Soho, the order of presentations was announced and pitching got under way with an impressive judging panel including CEO of Grayling UK and Ireland, Alison Clarke and one of Grayling’s Senior Consultants, Beth Milsom.

Each team had a total of 20 minutes to present their creative PR solution to the judging panel, including time for questions. Tension built throughout the afternoon as teams emerged from the den relieved and ready for their feedback. After an afternoon that seemed to flash by in an instant, pitching came to a close and as the judges conversed privately, the students awaited for the results, mingling with a variety of visiting lecturers and industry recruiters, keen to seek out fresh PR talent.

From the den, the judges emerged smiling with detailed notes in hand. After a short opener from the competition’s initiator – Bournemouth University lecturer Dr Tasos Theofilou – Alison Clarke followed, expressing both her and her fellow judges thorough enjoyment of the day and the insights gained from the xperience before expressing genuine eagerness to continue to support the competition as it grows.

And the winners are…

Winners Richard Wilson and Mario Morello

Amongst the feedback offered to the teams collectively and individually, great appreciation was demonstrated to the various teams’ ability to offer original insights into the brief, digitally intuitive tactics and genuine enthusiasm demonstrated through pitching which showed the teams in a professional light.

After a short pause, Alison revealed that the winner of the 2013 Amilla Competition was Bournemouth University’s Willoonello comprised of BA public relations students Mario Morello and Richard Wilson.

Praised for their distinctive insights into the target audience of the brief, Alison expressed great enthusiasm in working with the winners on their placement and advised all the competitors of the value of insight when forming a winning PR strategy.

While only Willoonello ultimately walked away with the grand prize placement and two beautiful 1st place trophies, all of the students who chose to compete in Amilla expressed the invaluable practice and education they earned through the entire experience (and collected some lovely 2nd place trophies too!)

Competing as team Vitality

Team Vitality: Laura, Fleurie and Jessica

I, alongside my two colleagues Jessica North and Laura Manninen, competed as team Vitality and although we’re disappointed we didn’t steal victory, the whole experience was completely invaluable.

Coming up to the end of our degree, it has offered a great talking point for professional interviews and was a brilliant chance to put our pitching into practice in a professional environment.

I’d thoroughly recommend PR students to take part in future Amilla competitions as amongst these benefits, it also offers a welcome break from working on our dissertations.