Edinburgh Napier team nets DMA Breakthrough Award

breakthroughTwo students from Edinburgh Napier University – Gemma Rundell Skelding and James Gadsby – have scooped this year’s DMA Breakthrough Award, the second time in three years that a team from the Scottish college has landed the top “young guns” gong.

Designed to celebrate the next generation of talent coming into the industry, each year aspiring creatives battle it out for the chance to impress some of the biggest names in marketing by working on a live creative brief, for a real client or business.

Run in partnership with Barclays, with the winner walks away with a cash prize of £1,000.

As part of the challenge, Barclays invited students across the UK to develop a multi-channel marketing campaign to change Gen Z’s negative perceptions of credit cards and get them to start using Barclaycard in place of Buy Now Pay Later brands (BNPL) such as Karna and ClearPay, by refocusing on its benefits for younger customers that BNPLs do not offer.

The winning team’s ‘Dodge the Debt Trap’ campaign, is said to have been based on an imaginative idea “worthy of an experienced creative team with a well-defined strategy”. Their insight around the need to demystify the terminology around credit cards was delivered through a clear yet fun and engaging creative concept, which would deliver cut through to the Gen Z audience.

Barclays UK marketing director for customer engagement Matt Conner said: “Barclays is passionate to support communities by enabling young people to develop the skills and confidence needed to succeed. As part of this ambition, we were proud to have partnered with the DMA Breakthrough Award 2023, and loved meeting the next generation of marketers.

“We were incredibly impressed with the calibre of the pitches and the range of ideas the teams brought to us – it was unbelievably difficult to decide between the four shortlisted campaigns.”

Students from the Leeds Arts University, Lucy Henning and Lucy Gibbons, with ‘Know your Limits’ campaign, took the silver award and students from the University of Gloucestershire, Scott Clarke, Tim Hutchings and Freya Rowley with the ‘Barclaycard Enchanted’ campaign, took the bronze – winning a £750 and £500 prize each respectively. 

DMA Talent general manager Kate Burnett said: “We are incredibly grateful for the increasing level of interest and engagement that we receive each year in the Breakthrough Award, from budding marketing talent across the UK. It is a unique scheme which helps young people to learn about the industry while working on an impactful project for a leading international business.

“These types of initiatives are important for helping to ensure our industry is as inclusive as possible – we want everyone who is passionate about data-driven marketing to be able to showcase their skillsets and enthusiasm to learn.”

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