University of Alabama Students Pilot Full-scale Campaign: For Exceptional Students, Success Means More than Earning an "A"

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A group of 15 advertising and public relations students at The University of Alabama are piloting a campaign to address the national problem of binge drinking on their campus with a $75,000 grant from the Century Council

Of the four national winners, The University of Alabama was the only school to receive a grant as well.

Most college students look forward to summer break as a time for relaxing and taking a break from responsibilities. For one hardworking group of University of Alabama students, summer was a time to plan a national public relations and advertising campaign.

A group of 15 public relations and advertising students were selected to pilot the LessThanUThink Campaign, a full scale advertising and public relations campaign, on The University of Alabama’s campus. After planning campaign strategies this summer, they are busy reaching as many fellow students as possible this fall with a fully integrated advertising and public relations campaign.

Created by UA’s Ad Team as part of a national competition, the LessThanUThink Campaign placed second in the 2009 American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition. The Century Council awarded the Advertising and Public Relations department at The University of Alabama a $75,000 grant to pilot the campaign in fall 2010 because the organization believed the campaign would succeed if implemented nationwide. Of the four national winners, The University of Alabama was the only school to receive a grant as well.

The 15 students who make up the LessThanUThink Campaign team are leaders in UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences. Instead of taking a traditional senior-level campaigns class, these students chose to dedicate their summer to planning a full-scale communications campaign. This fall, the students are piloting the campaign on UA’s campus to address the national problem of binge drinking. Although implementing a campaign is no easy task, their meetings are filled with an air of excitement.

“I joined this campaign opportunity because I wanted real world PR experience,” said Allison Cook, student coordinator for the campaign. “How many students finishing an undergraduate degree can say they’ve conducted a real full-scale integrated communications campaign for a national client? This isn’t just pitching an idea; it’s being given $75,000 to implement every aspect of a campaign.”    

It is this real world experience that sets apart the advertising and public relations department at The University of Alabama from other colleges. As PRWeek magazine’s top-ranked undergraduate public relations program in the U.S. for the second year in a row, the college prides itself on providing unique opportunities for students.

The campaign launched on campus September 1, and UA students are responding well to the campaign’s message. From a flashmob in the student union to 4,000 neon stress balls on the quad, the student team created quite a buzz around Tuscaloosa. The campaign hopes to increase the number of students who associate binge drinking with negative social consequences by using humor instead of scare tactics and eye-catching commercials and ads.

“This is an extraordinary group of students who volunteered their time this summer to have this campaign ready to go when school started,” said Teri Henley, advisor for AdTeam and faculty coordinator for the grant. “They have done an excellent job implementing the campaign they developed.”

It Takes LessThanUThink.

The LessThanUThink Campaign is one of four award-winning campaigns selected by The Century Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible decision-making regarding alcoholic beverages. The Century Council awarded the University of Alabama's College of Communication and Information Sciences, home to PRWeek’s number one undergraduate public relations program for the second year in a row, a $75,000 grant to implement the campaign. Originally developed by The University of Alabama’s award-winning National Student Advertising Competition Team in 2009, the LessThanUThink campaign is a local test for possible national implementation. The team consists of 15 advertising and public relations students, working with campus liaisons in the Student Health Center Department of Health Promotion and Wellness in association with The Capstone Agency, The University of Alabama's student-run public relations firm, which is operated by the university's Public Relations Student Society of America members. Information about LessThanUThink can be found at,, or on Twitter @LTUThink.


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