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Strathclyde hat-trick in national marketing competition

Thomas Cooper (left) and Adam Dickson, winners of The Pitch 2020

The University of Strathclyde has produced the winning team in a national marketing competition for the third year in a row.

Business students Thomas Cooper and Adam Dickson have been named winners of The Pitch, run annually by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

They will receive a £1500 cash prize for their winning entry in this year’s challenge, in which students put forward ideas to help retailer Lidl reduce its own brand plastic packaging. The company has committed to making a 20% reduction by 2022.

Their team, named Cooper and Dickson, won the Marketers of the Future title against 28 teams from universities across the UK.

Thomas and Adam impressed the judges with their creative proposition, titled A Lidl Means A Lot, which not only reflected Lidl's plastic reduction objectives, but also provided a platform to deliver against the company’s wider corporate social responsibility strategy. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were informed of their win by video call.

Their success follows wins in The Pitch for other Strathclyde teams, Tropic Like It’s Hot and Strath Gen Z, in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

Thomas said: “While we might not be able to celebrate in person, we are so pleased to have been awarded this year’s title. Both of us jumped at the chance to put into practice many of the theories and marketing techniques that we’ve been studying since starting university.”

Adam said: “The Pitch has given us the chance to be recognised for our thinking by a panel of respected marketing professionals and it’s given us the confidence boost we needed, as we start to apply for graduate jobs.”

Sustainability

Thomas and Adam focused on helping Lidl’s core audience make small, realistic changes, using their strapline to encourage individual changes such as switching to green reusable bags, while also keeping customers informed with Lidl’s overarching sustainability commitments. This included a social media campaign exploring what a difference little changes can make to other people’s lives.

Their approach was finely tuned to Lidl’s primary shoppers - 16-24 year olds and over 55s - and included a multi-channel focus on digital platforms, as well as more traditional techniques such as email marketing.

Chris Daly, Chief Executive of CIM, said: “Since we first tasked students with this year’s challenge, the world has changed significantly due to the impact of coronavirus. However, what remains true is that there is a huge amount of future marketing talent across the UK.

“We created The Pitch to offer students the opportunity to gain practical experience while responding to a real-life brief for a leading brand. It’s this type of business exposure that is critical for graduates preparing to enter the job market.

“Congratulations to Thomas Cooper and Adam Dickson, whose scalable approach offered a genuine solution to a retail challenge, and clinched them the title.”

Claire Farrant, Marketing Director at Lidl, said: ''The competition this year was fierce and there was a high level of research, understanding of the brief and the Lidl business from all 10 finalists which was so good to see. The finalists - Paradigm, Met a la Mode and Cooper and Dickson - all showed a well thought out strategy and a strong customer proposition.

“All three teams demonstrated clearly what the role of Lidl will be over the next three years and how our customers could get involved in our commitment to reduce plastic use by 2022. Cooper and Dickson, however, showed a true retail roll-out marketing plan, allowing trial, review and roll-out which is a typical framework that a retailer would adopt when launching a campaign like this.

“This showed real insight into our business and ways of working. Congratulations to all teams and to Cooper and Dickson for being The Pitch 2020 winners.”

Now in its ninth year, The Pitch sees students from leading universities compete to respond to a live client brief. It is designed specifically to help accelerate the career of students studying a marketing or business degree by developing their presentation, communication and problem-solving skills.