Elon students from Elon's newly formed chapter of the Public Relations
Student Society of America spent most of the year preparing a campaign
to educate high school and college students about credit. This campaign
was part of the PRSSA national Bateman Case Study Competition, a
prestigious and highly competitive contest.
The team, which
included senior corporate communications and broadcast major Lindsey
Bradshaw and junior communications majors Stephanie Chanpimol, Ellis
Harman, Steve Sposato and Amanda Stokes, was advised by John Guiniven,
associate professor of communications.
of PRSSA was started in the fall, so this was Elon's first Bateman
entry. The Bateman competition, now in its 31st year, is a way for
college students to get real-world experience in the world of public
relations. Every year, a new "client" is selected, and
teams from schools across the nation put together campaigns to promote
that product or client.
client was a bit different from those of years past. Ford Motor
Credit was the sponsor of this year's competition, and teams were
asked to come up with unique, innovative ways Ford Motor Company
could take on the road to educate high school- and college-aged
students about the pitfalls and benefits of maintaining good credit.
The teams received
their assignment in mid-October, and could implement their campaigns
throughout the month of February. Teams had to turn in a report
to the PRSSA judging panel by March 26.
took a novel approach to the idea of educating students about credit.
After conducting several focus groups, the team decided to create
a "Credit Counts!" Web site students could access to find
information about how to get good credit, how to get rid of bad
credit and the benefits of credit. To entice students to the site,
a "Game of Life" was created that allowed students to
interact with the site, making credit decisions and seeing how their
choices would impact their lives. Students who visited the site
and played the game could enter their names to win prizes, such
as movie passes, car wash gift certificates and dinner passes.
on the team also spent time promoting both credit and the Web site
at events such as College Coffee and Phoenix basketball games, where
they passed out quizzes for students to take. The answers to the
quizzes were available on the Web site and they were announced at
the basketball games.
in the Bateman competition gave Elon's team members a glimpse at
what a career in public relations or corporate communications entails,
and all said they were surprised at the work involved in putting
together a successful campaign.
in the competition was a great learning experience," said Stokes.
"It allowed us to have a better understanding of what it would
be like to work in a PR field, and it was great to have a chance
to do some real hands-on work. It was a lot of hard work and took
a lot of time, but I think now we're ready to handle the real world."
teams entered this year's competition, with three taking top honors
and 14 teams named with honorable mentions. Though Elon's team did
not place this year, Guiniven said he hopes having one team enter
will encourage other students to tackle the competition next year.
The Elon team's
Web site can be viewed at http://www.elon.edu/bateman.