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Local Professional Development Programs

IAA ‘Big Idea’

Each year in Australia there are many ‘award’ programs within the advertising and broader marketing communications industry. The IAA ‘Big Idea’ is different in two critical ways.


First, it is a student award competition, designed to foster the talents of the next generation of communication professionals, in line with the IAA’s on-going commitment to professional development. Second, the client is a “real-life” respected organisation that will truly appreciate the work produced by the student teams and offering the potential to take their efforts to market implementation. IAA Big Idea clients have consistently acknowledged with gratitude the creativity and high quality of workable ideas they received from the student teams since its inception in 2003.


Students are invited to devise a marketing communications campaign for a ‘real-life’ client, working in agency-style teams to develop a fully integrated communications solution. In response to the client brief, the teams deliver an end to end plan from the research stage to the creative concept, right through to the final presentation of their ‘Big Idea’. The winning ‘Big Idea’, as well as all the other ‘big Ideas’ submitted by the students, are made available to the client and over the years, a great many of them have been implemented.

The IAA ‘Big Idea’ is designed to challenge students to:


  • Work in agency-style teams
  • Produce marketing communication solutions for a real client, a respected organisation
  • Develop integrated concepts across all mediums, from research and strategy development to creative   conceptualisation and presentation standard
  • Be professionally evaluated by a judging panel of respected industry professionals as well as  representatives of the Client


IAA ‘Big Idea’ 2016


The National Champions were the Kajulu Red team from Charles Sturt University with the runners-up coming from teams at University of Canberra, UTS and CSU.


IAA ‘Big Idea’ 2016 Jury Chair and The Works Creative Partner, Paul Swann said: “The enthusiasm and energy of the students was invigorating, they did themselves and their lecturers proud. While all performed well on the day, one presentation stood out, the Kajulu Red team. Their insight was fresh and resulted in a big idea that we’re all hoping will come to fruition” Kajulu Red team IAA ‘Big Idea’ 2016 National Champions: Richie Robey, Adam Stacey, Meg Green, Pascale Greenberg, Larissa Harris, Lachlan Reid, and Tara Guempel with Faculty Advisor, Anne Llewellynn.

IAA ‘Big Idea’ 2017

iaa big ideaClick the image to download Brochure PDF


The IAA ‘Big Idea’, in its 15th year, is offering hundreds of university students around Australia the opportunity to sharpen their communication skills and talents in a real world, hands-on learning experience that is essential career training in the preparation of graduates for the transition from university into professional practice, and will help equip them for their future careers and internships in the communications industry.


This year’s national sponsor is Adobe and the brief for the student teams is to create an innovative, high impact campaign for the Adobe Document Cloud offering in Australia.


Donna Magauran, Head of Public Sector Marketing, ANZ/SEA, Adobe said:
” Adobe is proud to be this year’s National Sponsor for the IAA Big Idea challenge. Adobe has been supporting education for over 30 years with programs, awards and internships. Adobe’s products help students in all disciplines develop digital literacy skills – the power to use digital tools to think critically, produce innovative projects, communicate more effectively, build their personal brands and prepare for the challenges of an increasingly digital world.”


Mumbrella, media partner for IAA ‘Big Idea’ 2017, is offering the winning team members tickets to Mumbrella 360 in 2018.


The judging will be chaired by Aimee Buchanan, CEO of OMD with a panel of respected senior practitioners from key sectors of the industry.
The deadline for submissions is 14 September, with four team finalists announced on 20 October. The overall winning team will be announced on 10 November 2017.


IAA ‘Write your Future’


IAA ‘WRITE YOUR FUTURE’ Travel Scholarship is an Australia-wide professional development competition for young professionals who are 30 years of age and under, working and/or studying in marketing communications.  It is held every two (2) years and the prize is an expenses paid trip for the winner to participate in the biennial IAA World Congress, the world’s premier marketing communications event which is hosted in a different country each time (hosted previously in Washington DC, Moscow, Beijing and scheduled in Mumbai in 2018).


Candidates aged 30 years or under who are working and/or studying in marketing communications are invited to submit a video and amplification page (PDF) to address one of three topics set by IAA Australia. The essay submissions are judged by a panel of five judges , all industry experts and thought leaders from different facets of our network.


A number of the winners of this IAA youth travel scholarship award have gone on to become industry leaders in Australia and internationally.