CSU students win IAA Big Idea challenge with Coca-Cola sustainability project

Coca-Cola and the International Advertising Association (IAA) challenged university students from across the country to create an initiative to encourage more Australians to recycle using container deposit schemes.

And after multiple rounds of judging and live pitches, a team of students from Charles Sturt University (CSU) calling themselves ‘Kajulu Blue’ were announced as national champions.

The winning team

The runners up, Enigma and Kajulu White, were from the University of Canberra and CSU respectively.

Over 150 advertising undergraduate students participated in this year’s competition, which asked the teams to drive behaviour change and leverage technology to enable consumers to recycle more and better access container deposit schemes.

Leo Roberts, Coca-Cola’s integrated marketing communications director and jury member for the challenge, said all finalists rose to the challenge, and were impressive both in terms of their passion and professionalism.

“Across the board, the quality of their strategic thinking, creativity and focus on executional excellence was very inspiring. What impressed us most was the way in which all of the finalists put the consumer at the centre of the problem-solving process to develop ideas that created a true value exchange,” he said.

“The jury had a very, very tough job. Ultimately the winning idea came from Kajulu Blue, Charles Sturt University. The team impressed the judges with their idea as it was built off a real insight, delivered via an innovative design solution and demonstrated an understanding of how to change behaviour over the long term.

“Congratulations to Kajulu Blue and to all the finalists. Judging by the quality of the final presentations and the depth of talent on display, it is clear our industry has a bright future indeed.”

Gayle Wilde, jury chair, IAA director and CEO of Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, echoed these sentiments, noting that the future for the industry looked bright.

“It was an absolute honour to chair and judge the IAA Big Idea. We saw a sample of the next generation of marketers, and we have some amazing talent coming through that will contribute immensely to the on-going success of our industry. The quality of thinking, creativity and passion reinforce that we have an exciting future ahead,” she said.

IAA Australia chairman emeritus, Heather Leembruggen, said on the day that the quality of entries and presentations gets better every year.

“IAA Big Idea 2019 delivered some impressive performances from the finalist teams and some innovative submissions from all the participants. The students’ passion and energy for tackling this challenging brief from Coca-Cola certainly came through apart from the excellent research and insights the teams generated to inform and underpin their solutions to the sustainability project brief,” she said.

“This is what makes IAA Big Idea so rewarding for the IAA as well as the student participants and we are proud to be able for the past 17 years to give hundreds of students, in the upcoming generation of practitioners, the opportunity to sharpen their skills and use their talents in working on a hands-on project for a real-life client in a real-world  situation which gives them a real learning experience and taste for their future careers.”

In addition to winning the challenge, Kajulu Blue was also presented with complimentary tickets to Mumbrella360, which takes place in June next year.

Carla Arcuri, the team leader for Kajulu Blue, said: “To not only present our Big Idea to Coca-Cola themselves, but to see a panel of smiles and nods, was nothing short of incredible. We put in so much research to deliver really strong and genuine insights. To bring that to life for Coca-Cola, and to be told it was strategically solid, affirmed that we really have been well set-up for the industry – and that’s a pretty cool feeling.”

The jury for this year’s competition included:

  • Chair of the jury, Gayle While – CEO, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
  • Leo Roberts – director, IMC, Coca-Cola South Pacific
  • Adam Ross – content lead, Coca-Cola South Pacific
  • Dermott O’Gorman – CEO,WWF
  • Lee Tucknott – chief design officer, RXP Group
  • Danielle McWilliam – director customer experience, Think TV
  • Vivienne Kelly – editor, Mumbrella

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