Reminiscing: My First PR Campaign


I spent the weekend reminiscing about my student days when I stumbled across 2 CDs in a box at the top of my wardrobe. They were titled “PR 24 hour exam” and “Dissertation”.

Unfortunately, the dissertation document wouldn’t open because it was created in Word 97 (makes me feel old!) so any technical help with that, send my way please, I’d love to read it!

I did, however, manage to read the other disc. The PR exam, the final of the Public Relations module at the University of Ulster’s Communication, Advertising and Marketing degree, was the bain of our lives at the time. It hung over us like a big cloud of dread. We would arrive at uni that morning to be given a completely unseen client brief. We then had 24 hours to research, plan and write a PR campaign proposal for the client and return it back to university.


Looking back on it now, almost a decade later, I was pleasantly surprised! I can’t believe how much of the strategy and tactics I already knew. The requirements to work under pressure, to work to client brief, to research and ensure robust evaluation – I had it all down (well almost) and yet at that point I had never worked in a PR environment.

Which just shows that perhaps sometimes, you just have it in you.

What is glaringly obvious by its omission is any use of social media or SEO! In my defence, this was the days of MySpace and probably around the “birth of Bebo”. Napster was still legal. People had only just migrated their emails from excite to the sexy new Hotmail service. Companies created websites but I imagine there wasn’t the same expertise when it came to search engine optimisation and digital marketing tactics.

And yet it’s obvious where we add social media and the campaign idea itself would still hold up well, even after 10 years of work experience.

Except, of course, that the campaign was for the Department of Health to introduce the Smoking Ban in Northern Ireland (2007). Nowadays, most young’uns can’t remember a time when you could smoke in bars and restaurants…

Now I’ve made myself feel really old. Just in time for my birthday tomorrow.

Anyone for chocolate cake??

*You can read my campaign strategy, uploaded to hubpages, here.


    • Haha! That interview was pretty nerve-wrecking! But at least I felt prepared which eased the nerves. And it lasted a few hours, after that time the brain starts to melt and writing becomes a tad difficult 😀

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