Awards and Testimonials



Ariana Manning won the Student Planning Idol for her response to the brief, set by Red Cross Australia. Almost one million Australians are currently suffering from deep social exclusion, which is a form of entrenched loneliness that prevents people from fully participating in society. “Out of sight and out of mind”, deep social exclusion is a rapidly growing problem. The APG Planning Idol participants (all under 30) were challenged to develop a strategy that Red Cross could implement to address this issue meaningfully and practically.


Winner APG Planning Idol – Thomas Cleary SapientRazorfish,Sydney
Highly Commended – James Bennett Cummins & Partners, Melbourne
Best Insight – James Bennett Cummins & Partners Melbourne
Best Use of Research – Grace Espinosa UM
Best Written Paper – Isabelle Zacharia M&C:Saatchi Sydney
Best Presentation – Simon Thujis, Meerkats, Perth
Best Student Entry – Ariana Manning, The Brandbach, University of Otago

Angela Morris, chair of judging and the APG, said, “APG Planning Idol has become an important biannual event for nurturing young planning talent in Australia – it is rare that young strategists get the opportunity to take such leadership over a big, live brief and expose those ideas to a range of industry leaders. There were some fantastic insights and unexpected approaches to solving what was a challenging brief. All of our finalists should be very proud. Congratulations to Thomas and our other award winners for their outstanding work.”





Sophia Cooper and Malcolm Hayes won the New Zealand Student Marketer of the Year Award for their awesome Couch BBQ campaign in response to a briefing from fin-tech company Harmoney. In the annual competition organised by the Marketing Association, Zoe Robson, Dominic Stumbles, and Georgia Woodbridge and their You Got This solution were the 3rd place runners-up, in a highly competitive field.



Olivia Robins 500

The University of Otago’s Diploma for Graduates in Advertising student Olivia Robins has won the Australian Student Planning Idol for her ideation fof  launch of Reach Out for parents, which addresses the current attitudes parents have around mental health. The Award was handed out in a joint presentation by The Communication Council and the Account Planning Group, in Sydney on November 12.


We could never prepare our next gen talent for the digital creative industries without the dedicated time of our industry partners.

Here is a limited selection of comments on our work :

/ ‘The Brandbach curriculum almost makes me want to be a student again. But I don’t think I could manage the toast diet anymore. These guys are good!’ Anishka Jelicich  – Public Affairs Manager, Pernod Ricard Winemakers.

/ ‘Students from Brandbach are unique, they deeply understand the insight without losing sight of an idea. As an ex-Scarfie, it’s also nice to know these guys can still hold their own in the studio, the boardroom and most importantly the bar.’ Sam Stuchbury – Founder and Creative Director, Motion Sickness Studio.

/ ‘We’ve loved working with the Otago Brandbach in 2015. The students insights and output have been nothing short of exceptional! It’s exciting to see!’ AJ Tills –  Marketing Manager, Uber.

/ ‘It’s been fun and a great pleasure to to work in a team with the passion and curiosity that this industry really needs!’David McCallen – Planning Director, Colenso BBDO.

/ ‘The Brandbach students had a keen understanding of digital marketing and brought insight and passion to a project that burned brighter than a Dunedin couch.’ Wade Cowin – Creative Director, RESN.

/ ‘Wow. I don’t believe I would have produced anything as professional and well-thought through at the same stage in my life. They were fearless in the face of a bunch of grown-ups. Passionate, authentic and full of quality fresh ideas!’ Sue Anderson – Consumer Prepay Manager, Vodafone Mobile. /

‘/ The Bach may be an imaginary cottage, but these students have real talent. It was a joy and an inspiration – not to mention damn impressive – to see their work and their progress from cutting insight to polished output.’ Heidi Hackemer – Founder and Strategy Director , Wolf & Wilhemine NY



Johnny Sekhbraoudine, Nathan Wilson and Gabriel Mathieson have landed The New Zealand Student Marketer of the Year at the Marketing Association awards night in Auckland’s Langham Hotel. The campaign for the Royal SPCA, #YouHadMeAtBacon was considered to represent the best next gen talent, and landed the statue and funding from New Zealand Post.  The students have left Otago, for jobs in respectively Paris, London and New Zealand.  (Johnny in France)


The students in the MM16 planning module have been very successful in the The Planning idol, organised by the Australian Planning Group and the Communication Council (the Australian association of advertising  agencies). The awards  are undoubtedly the highest planning accolade in the Southern region and are coveted by young talent. The Planning idol includes students and professional planners who are under 30 and already working in agencies.

ella-newell-&-isabella-howard-idolElla Newell and Isabella Howard

have won the student Planning Idol for Bedtime Stories, an ideation for United Nations and Syrian refugees

hillary-rock-archer-idolHillary Rock-Archer

received an honorable mention by head judge Head Judge and Chief Strategy Officer/Associate Partner of Goodby Silverstein & Partners from the US) for her United Nations music concept.

The judges for the awards were:

Gareth Kay / Chief Strategy Officer / GSP (Chairman of Judges) Russ Mitchinson / Planning Partner / DDB Sydney & APG Chairman Justin Graham / Chief Strategy Officer / Droga5 & APG Vice Chairman Jason Lonsdale / Executive Planning Director / Saatchi & Saatchi Sophie Price / Planning Director / The Hallway Lucy Cochran / Planning Director / AJF Partnership (Melbourne) Alex Ryan / Senior Planner / Mediacom (former APG Idol winner) Catriona Collins / Planning Director / Droga5 Julia Dean / National Information Officer / United Nations Information Centre (ACT) Howard Parry-Husbands / Managing Director / The Influence Group & Pollinate.


Otago Brandbach Flash

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