Students clean up in national competition

The Portsmouth team’s winning Project RED product

The Portsmouth team’s winning Project RED product

Portsmouth first year marketing students who worked through a few nights to enter a national competition have won first prize.

The team of five students at Portsmouth Business School’s marketing and sales department won the Project RED top prize in a competition open to university students across the UK.

Piotr Stankiewicz, Linzi Appleby and David Omidiran, all studying digital marketing, and Laura Smith and Tariq Williams, who are studying marketing with psychology, came close to not sending their marketing plan and video advertisement to the judging panel in New York.

Laura said: “Piotr and I were editing the promotional video into the early hours quite a few nights in a row but actually trying to enter the competition was a nightmare – it was the night before the competition closed when we finally finished editing. All the post offices were closed so we bought a book of first class stamps and stuck near enough all of them on the envelope in the hope it would arrive.”

Piotr said when Linzi phoned him to say they had won he thought it was a joke.

He said: “It’s a national competition so it’s still hard for us to believe we won. We knew we had worked hard and that we had done our best, but we did it mostly for the experience, not for a win.

“We were motivated by the competition revolving around a charity – that made it more important. We really put our minds to making a strong marketing plan and hoped the judges would appreciate it. That our ideas and hard work ultimately paid off and were appreciated makes us indescribably happy.”

RED is a non-profit organisation which works with major brands including Apple, Coca Cola and Starbucks to create new products with all profits going to an Aids charity. Since its inception in 2006 it has raised nearly £200m to fund HIV and Aids programmes in Africa.

The competition asks students to design new products and suggest companies that the organisation could partner with. To enter the competition, students have to find a product aimed at university students, write a marketing plan for and shoot a short advertisement. The team’s tutor is Stacey Li, of Portsmouth Business School’s Marketing and Sales Management department.

The Portsmouth team decided to focus on hand sanitiser because it is widely used and a co-branded RED version could gain some long-term traction as a product among students.

Laura said: “I think we won because our product and partner selection encapsulated RED’s main cause, fighting the spread of AIDS and HIV. It seemed fitting to choose a product that was all about hygiene and stopping the spread of germs. That choice coupled with a lot of hard work and a spoonful of luck was why we think we won.”

Linzi agreed that the choice of product was almost certainly what made the difference.

She said: “We were very shocked to hear that we had won, especially given it was a national competition, but I think it may have been because we chose a product that not only was targeted at university students, but also was in line with RED’s values. We know some groups focused more on meeting the target audience’s needs rather than also thinking about RED’s mission.”

The team are to be awarded a cash prize along with the knowledge they’ve given their CVs a turbo-boost and the satisfaction of knowing their efforts will help raise funds to fight HIV and Aids.

 

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