The University of Alabama

UA Student Public Relations Team Wins National Prize

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s Public Relations Student Society of America placed first in the national Duck brand College Duck Tape PRSSA Challenge and will receive $1,000 for completing a public relations campaign to promote The University of Alabama College Duck Tape on campus.

Duck brand, which markets College Duck Tape, a line of Duck Tape prints featuring logos and mascots from more than 40 college teams, challenged PRSSA chapters across the country to develop and execute a well-organized public relations plan to generate awareness of College Duck Tape on campus and host a College Duck Tape-themed tailgate.

In response, UA PRSSA developed a month-long public relations campaign to increase product awareness at the University, with the goal of hosting at least 200 students at their tailgate event.

During the month, public relations students utilized social media and other public relations channels to spread the word about the product and the tailgate. They led a social media campaign that generated 280,366 impressions by using the Twitter hashtag #DuckTapeforUA, created a Facebook events page that reached more than 1,000 friends and developed a Pinterest board to showcase College Duck Tape-themed tailgate essentials.

Students also developed a news release that garnered coverage in the Greek life newspaper The Odyssey, coordinated an appearance on WVUA’s “First at Four” and reached out to local media in order to increase awareness on campus.

On Sept. 29, UA PRSSA partnered with LessThanUThink, UA’s Ferguson Center and the Student Health Center to host a UA College Duck Tape-themed tailgate during The Rising Tide Tailgate. On the day of the event, 296 hand fans decorated with College Duck Tape were distributed to gameday attendees, and UA PRSSA exceeded their attendance goal by hosting more than 400 individuals at the tailgate.

Throughout the campaign, 23 UA students were able to gain public relations experience by working together to inform the campus about the product and the many fun ways to incorporate Duck Tape in tailgating activities.

“We were extremely excited to partner with PRSSA chapters at universities and colleges nationwide in this year’s Duck brand College Duck Tape PRSSA Challenge. It’s a great opportunity for students to be creative with our product and rally their campus community, while also allowing these students to put into practice some key learnings from the classroom,” said Laura Pierce, assistant communications manager with ShurTech Brands, LLC, the company that markets Duck brand duct tape.

The University of Alabama PRSSA Chapter’s mission is to serve its members by enhancing their knowledge of public relations and providing access to professional development opportunities and to serve the public relations profession by helping to develop highly qualified, well-prepared professionals. It is composed of public relations students from the department of advertising and public relations in the College of Communication and Information Sciences.

LessThanUThink is a campaign focused on the national problem of binge drinking on college campuses and is led by advertising and public relations students at The University of Alabama through the student-run firm The Capstone Agency. The campaign reaches out to students through humorous messages that emphasize the negative effects of binge drinking.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.