Applying classroom learnings to a real-world campaign in Pitch It!

By Philip Lee, Year 2, CNM

Now that we have come to the end of the advertising competition, Pitch It, I am relieved, yet slightly disappointed as the adrenalin of running an advertising campaign slowly dissipates. The four-week long journey was marked with countless days of sleepless nights, hours of mundane logistical work, and heartening moments that I will remember for the rest of my college days. I had no idea how much work had to go into running a campaign that lasted for only two weeks! However, more than anything else, it was really the experience of seeing a campaign blossom from the planning the execution stage that I took away from this competition.

Organised by the CNM Society, Pitch It is an annual digital advertising competition that is crafted to simulate the real advertising and marketing environment – something we have heard so much about from our lecturers. The competition was open to all tertiary students in Singapore. At the opening ceremony, I was daunted by the number of teams competing for the prize money of an internship opportunity with Bates SG and a cash prize of $2,000 for the winner. While the majority of teams came from the CNM Department, there were a sizeable number of teams from NUS Business School as well as local polytechnics.

For Pitch It 2014, we had to launch an advertising and marketing campaign for our client, Singapore Press Holdings. The product was their digital package that allowed students to access the newspapers on their digital devices. One of the perks of being on this year’s Pitch It was that we were able to tap into the minds of the experts from Bates Chi & Partners on running an advertising and marketing campaign.

Launching an advertising campaign and marketing a digital product to tertiary students was tougher than it first appeared. Writing term papers and sitting for exams seemed like child’s play compared to what my team members, Cheryl, Yee Huey, Daniel, and I did during the campaign. From the conceptualisation to the execution, one important lesson we learnt was that nothing ever goes to plan. We had lofty ideas – reaching out to tertiary studenst all over Singapore, launching a mega event that would attract lots of publicity and even having a team mascot to perform a publicity stunt in the middle of U-town. However, with the limited budget, $5,000, given to run the campaign, many of our ideas had to be axed. Despite these challenges, it was always the process of going back to the drawing board to rethink our ideas that pulled us through this campaign. One of the biggest difficulties we faced during the campaign though, was the marketing side of it. At one point, we even had to approach students and sell our product to them. This was something that I suppose the business students had an advantage in.

What is really great about the competition is that it gave us plenty of opportunities to apply what I learnt at CNM into a real campaign: Public relations approaches from NM2219; social media engagement from NM2203; advertising strategies from NM3215, and even designing leaflets and posters from NM3217. All the knowledge I picked up from the lectures and tutorials finally seemed applicable and relevant. It was like a scaled-down version of the capstone module for public relations, NM4207, except that this did not affect my CAP score. (I wouldn’t want to think of the consequences if it did!). If you’re a campaign junkie like me, Pitch It is an enlightening and enriching experience that gives you an idea of what goes on during an advertising and marketing campaign.

I would like to thank the consultants and clients for their support in this competition. We’ve  learnt so much from just these few weeks. More importantly, I would also like to extend my appreciation to the CNM Society for their hard work in organizing this competition.

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About Gulizar Haciyakupoglu

A PhD Candidate at Communications & New Media Programme, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
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