AUT ad students turn water into wealth with Just Water win

10 Sep, 2015
Michael Tomich and Caroline Phillips

A successful advertising concept for Just Water International’s water filters has netted two AUT students $23,000.

Caroline Phillips and Michael Tomich, currently in their third year of a Bachelor of Communications degree majoring in Advertising Creativity, entered the Just Water competition which called for ‘a creative genius to come up with a short word or picture concept to drive sales of 5000 Just Water filters into New Zealand homes’.

AUT Ad Creativity lecturer and creative director Jane Berney says despite taking on the brief just weeks before the competition closed, AUT students entered eight submissions and took out three of the spots in top ten – against entries from Europe and the US.

“This sort of challenge comes to Ad Creativity several times a year, and we offer it up to our students as an opportunity to develop their creative muscles,” says Berney.

“As they are also managing creative assignments across the semester we try not to overload them but they know, by now, that for creatives to rank in the advertising industry, winning of competitions sets them apart and open doors to the agencies that they dream of working for.”

Phillips says they almost didn’t enter the competition with such a short timeframe to deliver the concept.

“We almost talked ourselves out of it a hundred times that week. But it wasn't long after we entered, perhaps a week, that we heard back from him saying that two other teams and ourselves had made it through from AUT to the top tier.”

“Tony [Falkenstein] has been really encouraging in his feedback throughout the whole process, being really clear about what he likes and what he'd like tweaked a bit,” says Phillips.

Just Water International director Tony Falkenstein says the winning concept is likely to run in press, magazines in coming months.

“We needed a concept that would grab attention, and express the main benefit of the Just Water filter, which is by removing chlorine, the water tastes better.”

Now Phillips and Tomich are putting some creative thought into how they’ll spend their winnings.

“Apparently, we all of a sudden owe a lot of people drinks, but if we do have anything left after that night out, we'll have to start making some decisions. [Tomich] is still intent on taking everything out in $5 notes, then rolling around in it like Scrooge McDuck. I personally have been dreaming about all the fancy yoghurt and high end shish on rice my half could buy – the student is strong in me, but we both seem pretty keen on starting up a travel fund for when the time is right.”

Money aside, Phillips says the experience itself has been enormously valuable.

“We'd really love to say a huge thank you to Tony and his team – it's been invaluable for us to try something outside of our coursework, where the clients and the stakes are real. Also to our tutors, Jane and Paul, who've done such an incredible job navigating us through the open water of this year, it really has made it much smoother sailing.”

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