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Live Oak wins awards for public relations campaigns

Live Oak Communications, Elon University's student-run, full-service communications agency, received two awards Jan. 28 from the Tar Heel Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America at the annual Spinks Awards banquet in Greensboro, N.C. The Spinks competition is a professional awards program for agencies in the Triad region of North Carolina.

Pictured from left to right: Lee Bush, assistant professor and faculty director of Live Oak; Michelle Newman, ESNC Team Leader; Jeremy Walter, AVH Account Executive; Lauren Warr, Live Oak Creative Director; Donnie Turlington, Tar Heel PRSA President.

Live Oak entered two categories for the Spinks Awards and won both. The agency won “Best Web Site” for its redesign of the Alamance Veterinary Hospital web site, including the creation of a social networking site called “Paw2Paw.” On Paw2Paw, AVH clients can upload pictures of their pets and converse with AVH vets and other pet owners. The site also includes a short video of the AVH facility and services.

The agency also won the award for “Best Event,” for its Campout! Carolina campaign developed for EarthShare North Carolina. Launched in 2007, the annual campaign encourages residents of the state to “unplug” and camp out in their back yards to show support for the environment – all on the same weekend. The campaign includes a Web site, tie-in with REI outdoor stores and The North Face, social media, in-store signage, viral marketing and extensive media outreach.

The agency was able to triple the number of registered campers from 2007 to 2008, and to double the number of campers from 2008 to 2009, while also generating more than one million media impressions for ESNC.

"We are thrilled to win these awards," said Lee Bush, assistant professor and faculty director of Live Oak. "The students have worked hard to build a student agency that mirrors that of the professional world. To be recognized by a professional association like PRSA is a testament to the outstanding work these students are doing for our clients."

Accepting the awards at the banquet were Live Oak Creative Director Lauren Warr; Michelle Newman, team leader for the ESNC account, and Jeremy Walter, account executive for AVH. Julia Hood, publishing director for PR Week magazine, was the keynote speaker at the event, and personally congratulated the students afterward.

Launched in 2007 through the School of Communications, Live Oak Communications is a full-service, student run communications agency where students get hands-on experience developing and executing public relations, advertising and creative design programs for real clients. The agency currently serves eight regional clients with a staff of 42 students. Live Oak operates out of its own offices at 100 Williamson Ave. in downtown Elon.

Colin Donohue,
1/29/2010 3:08 PM