Eleanor Sydenham (Bath Spa University) | June 2023
This work is one of two 2023 winners of our Centre for Media Research Student Award, a special prize awarded to a final-year Media Communications student. This work stems from the Media Communications Final Project, a module which asks students to embark on a challenge-led research project, the insights from which are disseminated as a cross-platform communications campaign for a real audience. The winner of the award is invited to publish both their background research alongside their creative campaign as a journal article.
What follows is a short walkthrough video of both the research and the campaign, followed by a detailed presentation of the work in full - the Research Portfolio and the Campaign.
Research has repeatedly shown that students are failing to cook and eat to
maintain nutritional well-being. Data from the British Nutritional Foundation
indicated 18-year-olds are six years behind their real age when it comes to cooking
from scratch. Further to this, survey data suggests as high as 18% of students are
consuming takeaway food up 5 times a week (Sorted 2021). The result of these
behaviours is a demographic who are skill deprived, lacking in knowledge,
unhealthy and out of pocket.
This can be creatively combatted to address the social challenge but also provide
a chance for industry innovation. In order to create a strategic and meaningful
response, several stages of research are going to be undertaken. The first of these
being comprehensive audience research through primary survey, and secondary
data from across fields of study in marketing, food and nutrition and market
research. Alongside academic literature, there will also be competitor brand
analysis, ethnographic research and content analysis from the sector to
understand on the broadest level what the industry landscape currently looks like.
This research comes at a particularly difficult time for students. The prominent
cost of living crisis means a student loan is simply not stretching far enough, and
now more than ever key skills in food and nutrition are needed.
This project proposes a solution to this problem; industry facing advice on how to
diversify product lines to aid in the cause demonstrated through a mock
campaign. Cooking Class will be a one stop platform for cooking knowledge, meal
kit shopping, nutritional advice and food budgeting, all to suit a student lifestyle.
The hope is this research provides an easy fix to a complicated problem- ensuring
that students reprioritise their health and wellbeing to save money and live
better, with the help of industry backing.
To begin this year-long project, the Research Portfolio serves to captures a substantial amount of background research into the topic in order to develop new insights that can be shared as a communications campaign targeted towards the relevant industry audience.
Click through below to read all of the background research that informed this campaign, including academic insights and a full campaign plan complete with brand mock-ups.
You can also download the complete Research Portfolio below.
The following Communications Campaign took all of the research, insights and campaign plans from the above Research Portfolio and disseminated this work as a large-scale cross-platform campaign, one that was also evaluated to assess it impact on real audiences.
A final step for the project was to implement a systematic evaluation of the campaign, such as social media engagements, data analytics and audience responses, in order to understand the reach and impact of the campaign. Below is a snapshot of the results and learnings.