A TEP educational project by professor Daniel Schneider and Associate Dean Bob Richardson of the Bachelor of Public Relations Program at Humber College’s School of Media Studies.
A recruitment initiative
Humber’s Bachelor of Public Relations program offers an annual PR Boot Camp to high school students in order to open them to the possibility of a career in public relations.
In previous years, the program was offered at Lakeshore campus; however, it was a challenge to get participants to attend. Instead, this year we redesigned the initiative as an after-school program on their home turf.
Humber BPR partners with Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School
As a pilot project, we launched the new format in conjunction with Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School.
The program was designed as a talent-search challenge called Battle of the Burgers. Students would be broken into teams to develop and pitch their concept of a public relations campaign promoting a well-recognized hamburger brand.
The program was first set for November 2017, at a time when high school students are thinking about options for post-secondary education. However, due to the college strike, the event was postponed to February 2018, spread over two days.
Background on the Battle of the Burgers challenge
Some of the best-known fast-food companies are not only in the business of selling delicious hamburgers, but they also need to create public goodwill and consumer trust in their brand. How does McDonald’s build public trust in its name? The brand created a campaign called Our food. Your questions.
Through the campaign, McDonald’s answers some pretty difficult questions from customers who are concerned about their health. The company faces public criticism head-on, so that consumers can feel safe with what they are eating. The program is effective, because it demystifies negative conceptions about McDonald’s food.
The challenge to Father Redmond Secondary School students
Drawing inspiration from the McDonald’s case study, we created a challenge for the Father Redmond students that was issued in these words:
Three brands need your expertise. Your public relations team will be assigned a company in need of a PR campaign. Your group will bid on one of the following:
A&W Canada: “At A&W, we’re on a journey to source simple, great-tasting ingredients, farmed with care.”
Wendy’s: “…we stand for honest food … higher quality, fresh, wholesome food … prepared when you order it … prepared by Wendy’s kind of people … people who believe this is My Wendy’s … we do it Dave’s Way … we don’t cut corners.”
Burger King: “The original HOME OF THE WHOPPER,® our commitment to premium ingredients, signature recipes and family-friendly dining experiences is what has defined our brand for more than 50 successful years.”
Answer the following questions:
- Create a new burger and describe it!
- How does it fit the restaurant’s message?
- What makes it different from other burgers?
- Who would want to eat this burger?
- Why would they feel good eating your new burger?
You will prepare a 5 to 7-minute pitch presentation to a panel of senior-year students of Humber’s Bachelor of Public Relations Program. You will be evaluated on:
A clever PR strategy
Win great prizes!
We look forward to hearing your ideas.
Outcome of Battle of the Burgers
The February event was unfortunately cancelled due to low enrollment.
As a solution, we rescheduled the Boot Camp to take place on June 5, 2018. We presented to students from the Toronto Catholic District School Board who visited Humber for College Experience Day. The lesson plan was condensed and redesigned into a 45-minute interactive session that was offered to three separate groups.
In November 2018, we will resume our original plan in partnership with Father Redmond Secondary School. Leading up to the event, we will have more time to promote in advance.
TCDSB College Experience Day at Humber
The June 5 event was a tremendous success. We presented the 45-minute workshop to three separate groups of students from grades 7 to 10.
Though we will not see an immediate increase in program enrollment, the sessions were meant to offer the students a fun and playful learning experience. They understood how the field of public relations can be rewarding and collaborative, and we gave them a sample of what their career could look like. The natural talent in the room was astounding.
Most importantly, the initiative created an excellent foundation and practice run for the more extensive workshop that will take place at Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School in fall 2018.