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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’ 2017

The IAA ‘Big Idea’, in its 15th year, is offered 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 which will help equip them for their future careers 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.


From a field of over one hundred and fifty undergraduate university students from 5 states around Australia five teams were selected as finalists in the competition: CSU (NSW) teams, Kajulu Red and Kajulu Blue, ECU (WA) teams, Boomerang One and Boomerang Two, and University of Canberra (ACT) team, Construct.

Kajulu Red team from CSU won IAA ‘Big Idea’ 2017 with their innovative marketing communications campaign for Adobe Document Cloud directed to the target audience of school teachers.
Adobe was the real-life client and national sponsor and Chandra Sinnathamby – Head of Document Cloud, and member of the jury said:


“What a fantastic afternoon it has been with amazing presentations!!!
Today we have seen a sample of the next generation of marketers and I am sure you will agree that I feel the industry can look forward to some amazing talent that will contribute immensely to the on-going success of this industry. With that I would like to thank all the students and educators that have invested their time and effort to be involved, and I hope you have found the experience thoroughly rewarding, all of you did amazing work, and a big congratulations to all the finalists, well done.

IAA ‘Big Idea’ 2017 National Champions receiving their trophy

I am happy to say, with the quality of work I have seen today, the students have done an amazing job – very creative and innovative with their campaigns… and thanks for making documents sexy once again!!


In closing, I would like to once again thank both the IAA and the students for their involvement in IAA Big Idea, it has been our absolute pleasure to be involved. ”


The judging chaired by Aimee Buchanan, CEO of OMD Australia said:

“it was an absolute honour to chair and judge the IAA Big Idea Awards. The calibre of thinking, creativity and passion reinforce the level of talent we have coming into the industry. If this event is anything to go by, we have a bright future ahead.”


The 2017 jury included: Chair of the Jury Aimee Buchanan, OMD Australia CEO, with a judging panel of Chandra Sinnathamby, Adobe, Head of Document Cloud APAC, Donna Magauran, Adobe Head of Strategic Marketing, Gayle While, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne Deputy CEO, Stewart Heys, News Limited Head of Ad Products, and Paul Wallbank, Mumbrella News Editor.

IAA ‘Big Idea’ 2017 was proudly supported by Adobe and Mumbrella as partners in this national competition.


IAA ‘Big Idea’ 2017 National Champions, CSU’s Kajulu Red team: Mary Hall, Ashleigh Coates, Olivia Foti, Eliot Parker, Sharntelle Uren, Jordan Van der Heide,Jonathan Watson, Anne Llewellynn.


For comments and endorsements from students and faculty advisors who participated in IAA ‘Big Idea’ 2017

iaa big idea

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.