May 23, 2012 • By

“Choose Dat Not Dis” wins PR competition

General Mills hosted students from three U.S. universities – Loyola University New Orleans, the University of Florida, and the University of Maryland, College Park – for the final round of the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) highly regarded Bateman Case Study Competition last week.

The competition, conducted annually, evaluates teams of college students on their ability to develop and present a comprehensive public relations campaign.

This year’s client, United Way Worldwide, challenged teams to develop campaigns aimed at reversing the U.S. trend in childhood obesity in a sustainable way by encouraging improved nutrition and physical fitness behaviors among youth.

We were excited to sponsor this year’s competition, given that the General Mills Foundation’s focus on youth nutrition and fitness aligns well with the spirit of this year’s Bateman competition theme.

And, as we plan for the future of our flagship Champions for Healthy Kids program, we were eager to hear the creative campaign ideas developed by the Bateman teams and share with them the experience we’ve gained over the past 10 years working with more than 400 organizations across the U.S. on youth nutrition and fitness programs.

Seventy teams from colleges and universities across the U.S. were judged on their research, creation, implementation and evaluation of a public relations campaign with new, creative ways to reach target audiences.

The top three team finalists gathered at General Mills’ headquarters last week and presented their campaigns to a panel of judges from United Way Worldwide, the Public Relations Society of America and General Mills. I was eager to meet the teams, particularly after participating in the first round of judging where we reviewed the written submissions of all 70 teams.

Emily Kleiman, University of Maryland, College Park

I was excited to meet the bright students behind the impressive entries! The teams did not disappoint. They absolutely blew me away with their passion for public relations, their creativity and their amazing presentation skills.

Roberta Roberts, University of Florida

“Over the course of this competition, we were struck by the creativity the teams applied to their campaigns,” says Kirstie Foster, director of Corporate Public Relations at General Mills. “We were particularly impressed with the talent, poise and dedication the final three teams displayed during the last round of the competition. It was clear from their presentations that they had successfully engaged with their local United Way organizations to create thoughtful campaigns with the potential for long-term implementation.”

Nhi Tieu and Wade Kimbro, Loyola University New Orleans

The winning campaign came from the team from Loyola. Their “Choose Dat Not Dis” campaign played off the “Who Dat” pride of their local New Orleans community and inspired their target audience to make small, ongoing changes to their nutrition and exercise routines to create a meaningful impact. Even during Mardi Gras celebrations, the team was able to create a buzz around their campaign and connect people with their messaging.

Jack Lien, Maggie Moore, Nhi Tieu, Alexandra Broussard and Wade Kimbro, from Loyola University New Orleans. (Not pictured: Adviser Jeffrey Ory).

I caught up with Maggie Moore from the Loyola team after the results were announced, for this interview about why she thought her team stood out:

Moore also told me the win was months in the making. “We started working back in October, with tons of research and primary research and planning,” says Moore. “I think we made a big impact on New Orleans. I’m very happy with my team and how everything worked out.”

As the first place team, Loyola will receive $2,500. The Florida team, which took second, will receive $1,500 and the Maryland team will receive $1,000.

The three finalists will be recognized at an awards ceremony during the PRSSA 2012 National Conference, to be held in San Francisco, Oct. 12 to 16.

For additional information about the PRSSA 2012 Bateman Case Study Competition, visit the PRSSA website.