Student anti-smoking campaign wins over judges
Rushika Bhatia

Student anti-smoking campaign wins over judges

The University of Strathclyde’s Celebrating Marketing Week continued May 20th with a student competition, held in association with Dubai One TV.

Gathering at the University’s Dubai campus, student teams worked together to develop a CSR focused, social media marketing campaign, targeted at the audiences of Dubai One’s show, Twenty Something.

The teams came up with a host of ideas, including campaigns to deal with drug addiction, blood donation, a road safety campaign and a bike-recycling programme. The joint winners of the competition, however, both used anti-smoking as the theme for their campaign.

Their ideas to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking ranged from the creation of a blog, to act as a support network for individuals trying to quit smoking, through to a forum for people to share their personal experiences of the negative impacts of smoking, alongside an endurance sports competition, to highlight the benefits of quitting.

Olla Shahin, Marketing Manager at Dubai One, speaking on behalf of the judging panel said, “The winning concepts were chosen based on a number of criteria, from objectives through to implementation, but possibly, most important of all, was the feasibility of the campaign.

“The idea of holding a sports endurance competition to further the goals of the anti-smoking campaign really resonated with us, as it was a notion that not only captured the trend-factor, but added an element to the campaign that could be really built upon, ensuring its longevity.”

Other members of the jury panel included Dr. Sean Ennis, Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Director of the MSc Marketing – UAE programme, University of Strathclyde, Tabarak Razvi, Managing Director, MBR Alternative Media, Chris Briers, Strathclyde University alumni and former Manager at the ICC and Ali Sabbagh, Editor in Chief, Uni magazine.

Giving students the opportunity to work on an authentic problem, for a local organisation, was a key aim of the competition, according to its organisers. Commenting on what was one of the key events running as part of the Celebrating Marketing Week, Professor Kevin Ibeh, Head of the Department of Marketing at the University of Strathclyde Business School said, “The competition was an opportunity for students to explore the contemporary role of social media in marketing practice, in a very real context.

The competition also provided a platform for the students to interact with our Postgraduate Marketing students (who acted as coaches) and academics in developing ideas to meet the goals of Dubai One’s planned social marketing campaign. The University of Strathclyde is very pleased to have been able to host such an event, and we hope that the exercise was of benefit to the students involved.”

Sean Seery, Lecturer at the Business Faculty, Dubai Men’s College, Higher Colleges of Technology, whose students participated in the competition added, “What was so useful about this exercise for our students, was the ability to participate in an authentic, work-like environment, where students could compete against their peers. I’m confident that such an experience will be highly useful to them as practitioners in the future.”

The winning teams of students will continue their learning experience within a practical environment with Dubai One, which is planning on implementing the anti-smoking campaign. The students will be interning at the broadcast station, where they will help to bring their ideas to reality.

In a surprise announcement by the university, students were also informed that they would receive a AED 10,000 scholarship should they choose to sign up to its MA in Marketing Programme.