The students responded to a real-life brief, delivering a creative pitch to judges from the global agency’s Northern office. The award rounds off a year of celebrations, as the university commemorates its 25th anniversary of PR teaching.
Six teams of final year undergraduate students competed for the prize, wherein students were tasked with setting up their own ‘mock’ PR agency. Each team faced the challenge of devising and delivering an engaging corporate PR pitch for a leading UK-based department store.
The two groups shortlisted by Leeds Beckett lecturers delivered pitches to Grayling North at their offices in Thorner, Leeds, where for the first time in its 20 years, Grayling declared a tie, awarding the prize to both teams.
The winning teams, LEMONADE Comms and Brand Affinity, were praised for their faultless strategy and creative approach to the brief.
LEMONADE Comms comprised Emma Bowers, Michaella Biscomb, Hannah Wellington, Jenna Clarke and Harriet Morrall, while Brand Affinity was made up of Kelly Scotney, Max Lamont, Lucy Greenwell, Hannah Miller and Erin Mullis.
Grayling North, an award-winning Leeds-based PR agency, has worked in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University for over 20 years to professionally develop students. In addition to the award, the agency gives the winning team(s) a cash prize.
Commenting on the success of both teams, Emma Bowers said: “We are delighted to have won the Grayling North PR Prize. The module provided a fantastic opportunity to work with a real-life client and deliver against a brief. Undertaking practical industry experience is an invaluable addition to our academic studies. We thoroughly enjoyed the project and are immensely proud to be graduating having won such a highly-acclaimed agency prize.”
Katie Eborall, Associate Director at Grayling North, added: “LEMONADE Comms and Brand Affinity were worthy winners. Both teams fully understood the brief, and while LEMONADE demonstrated a flawless strategic approach, Brand Affinity’s stand-out creative ideas made it impossible to select just one winner this year. We very much value our partnership with Leeds Beckett University and it’s important to us to help develop and support the PR stars of the future.”
Shirley Beresford, Senior Lecturer in Public Relations and Communications at Leeds Beckett, said: “The Grayling Prize for the Competitive Pitch is our most prestigious public relations in practice initiative for PR students. These young professionals are at the start of their careers and the opportunity to pitch to a 'real life' client on a live campaign is a priceless experience.
“Leeds Beckett PR students are recognised as some of the UK’s finest. Our 25 year exceptional employability rate speaks for itself, with our alumni operating in some of the highest levels of UK and international business. The Grayling Prize is a key initiative to support students’ aspiring careers and we thank them once again for their continued support and affording us this special partnership with the PR industry.
This years’ final year students are at the top of their game. LEMONADE and Brand Affinity were very deserving winners! I’m delighted for them.”
Having recently celebrated 25 years of public relations education, Leeds Business School offers one of the longest-running PR courses in the UK. The course enjoys an international reputation as a leading centre for public relations education, with particular emphasis on students undertaking practical work experience. For more information about the range of PR courses at Leeds Beckett University visit www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/pr.