Our Award Entry (or ‘How We Won’)

I thought I’d take some time show you all our (winning) entry for the Douglas Smith Award.  It took us months to put together and we’re all really proud of the finished product.  As the original entry was 2000 words, I’ve condensed it down quite a bit just to give a brief overview.

Side note: Please remember that we are still students and know that the campaign isn’t perfect, but we have responded to the brief to the best of our ability.

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The campaign centered around a fictional company called ‘Technolenstrak’
The Brief:

Over the past decades technology has developed at an incredible rate and is now so deeply entrenched on our daily lives that it is now impossible to imagine life without it.

Wearable technology is a relative newcomer to the market and items such as Google Glass, Android Watches and various GPS trackers have the potential to make our lives easier and more practical. As the Internet of Things becomes increasingly intertwined with our lives, its proponents argue that such technology can enhance our lives.

Opponents on the other hand argue that the development of such technologies raises important ethical questions about the individual’s right to privacy. They claim that wearable devices have the power to alter our habits, that the idea of technology ruling our lives and, in some cases, making decisions on our behalf is sinister and a big price to pay.


To develop an international campaign for a fictitious company, ‘TecnoLensTrak’, wishing to launch new contact lenses, which can take photographs and track your health and activity.


To develop a campaign for a special interest group arguing against the new contact lens product, taking into account ethical issues and the individual’s right to privacy.

PLEASE NOTE: Both approaches must take into account the ethical positions.

As you can see, this year the competition was strongly centered around the ethical considerations of wearable technology, which has been a hot topic in PR lately (just check out Stephen Waddington’s blog ‘The Only Way Is PR Ethics‘).

From the outset we decided to be pro-technology, we thought that a lot of the other entries would be against based on the recent Google Glass controversies

The Research

I would say that overall we spent around 70% of our time on research, before we even began to think about strategy or tactics.  The secondary research alone was substantial, given the anti-tech groups and ethical considerations raised by the release of Google Glass.

As well as scouring the internet and newspapers we conducted our own primary research.  This involved an online survey and face to face interviews (if we had a chance to re-do the campaign I’d probably include a focus group).

Overall we found that the key issues that the public were concerned about are personal privacy (eg. people around them taking photos and videos), being conned into agreeing to terms and conditions and the storage of their personal information.

The Strategy

To change the perceptions of wearable technology by promoting the health, fashion and memory benefits to all publics.

We decided that to promote the product we would address the ethics of wearable technology by highlighting the benefits instead of focusing on the negatives.

The Tactics


As the brief didn’t specify the name of the lenses, we chose to name them IC to focus on individual usage rather than outward intrusion.  The IC brand is something that we wanted to make prominent throughout the campaign.


#ICMore is the umbrella concept behind the campaign.  We would use hashtags centered around this to promote each of the individual tactics.


#ICMemories focuses on the ability to create instant memories for personal use. We would hold a competition to launch the lenses. Entrants would describe the memories they wished they could have captured on video, with the best being shared on all social media platforms using the above hashtag.

For this part of the campaign we would also involve PewDiePie, Youtube celebrity and technology blogger.  We would give him his own pair of the lenses to review on his channel after release, but invite him to launch the product at the International FES convention.  We would also ask that he uses the lenses for a month prior to the event to help create a visual display of the photos and videos for the launch.  PewDiePie will also be asked to announce the winner of the #ICMemories competition.


#ICLife would allow people to challenge and share their fitness goals online. It would also promote the positive lenses, like glucose monitors and GP alerts, to demonstrate that the lenses are potentially life saving. We would also promote this by streaming positive news stories and case studies to targeted and specialist international media outlets.


#ICFashion We decided to highlight the individuality of the lenses by having international designer Hussein Chalayan place designs on the front of the product.  This would make the lenses visable to the public. Placing a design on the lenses would make others aware that information may be being collected and alleviating apprehensions that photos and videos are being taken without their knowledge.

The product’s release would coincide with the international Fashion Weeks so Chalayan could use the technology in his shows. Live streams from the models’ lenses would create an alternative perspective of the runway, showcasing the lenses capabilities. The audience would be encouraged to live tweet the show using #ICFashion.


To measure the success of our tactics we would regularly monitor and review the outputs by:

• Constantly measuring engagement through social media.

• Measuring product sales periodically.

• Monitoring the activity and messages of campaign groups.

• Analysing figures gained through the case studies.

• Conducting further primary research 3 months into and at the end of the campaign to measure the publics’ perceptions.

Ongoing review would ensure that we can adapt our tactics to suit the changing nature of the technology industry.

We decided not to include a budget in our campaign as the word count was really tight, and it would be very complex to cost out and explain in the short space we had.

Even though this is just a brief (yet somehow still lengthy) overview of our proposal, I hope that you’ll be able to see the hard work that we put into making it.

I would also like to stress again how much of a fulfilling process it was creating the campaign itself.   Not only did it test our teamwork skills, but challenged us creatively and strategically. I would definitely recommend any PR student to put themselves forward for any competition like this.

If anyone would like to see a full copy of the campaign proposal you can download it here:

Technolenstrak Proposal – Hannah, Lauren, Arianne


This Girl Can


This Girl Can is a campaign that had been on my radar for a few weeks now.  It’s a very clever campaign created by Sport England and their partners to encourage more women to play sports and exercise.

As you can see, the advert focusses on individuality and how women have overcome their own obstacles to exercise and feel good about themselves.  Personally, I find this very refreshing and a welcome change from the usual scare tactics associated with trying to get people to be healthier and more active.

There is also a section on the website giving more information on the sports involved and how to get started.

Along with the TV ad above, there are also short videos on the website featuring the girls individually.  They talk about the problems they’ve had with exercise in the past and how they’ve overcome them.  Generally, they speak about issues that are quite common, such as body confidence and time constraints.

Kelly’s story is my favourite as I find I can relate to her.

In taking average women and showcasing their enthusiasm and determination to exercise, Sport England have created a very personal and relevant campaign.  The personal stories are heart warming and empower women, instead of chastising.untitled

I think it’s also worth mentioning that clearly one of the aims of the campaign is to tackle obesity and the associated health problems this causes.  However, there is not one mention of heart disease, liver failure or any of the other medical terms and statistics usually thrown around, just inspirational women doing their own thing and having a blast.

The response from  social media has already been overwhelming with #ThisGirlCan trending on Twitter.  You can see a selection of the great feedback they’ve had here.

What do you think? Do you find this campaign empowering or obvious?