Last week, in closure of the Coopr Academy 2020, the much anticipated pitch day was held. Over the course of several weeks, both teams had been working tirelessly on perfecting their campaigns, making them the best they could be before presenting to the client. And while this year’s circumstances were rather unusual, the nerves and the excitement were felt all the same.
The pitch day is one we had all been looking forward to for a long time. All of the great coaching sessions, our effort and teamwork, and the valuable lessons learned along the way would culminate in that one day where we had to make it count. Unfortunately, pitch day turned out much different than we had once expected. Just a few days before the originally scheduled date, the Dutch government declared sanctions in light of the Coronavirus pandemic that would prevent our coming together for the pitch, resulting in it being postponed until further notice.
But as the world became used to this new reality of working from home and mastering Zoom calls, so did the Coopr Academy, picking up where it had left off. The pitch day was now effectively organized into two separate dates: one for the submission of a 15 minute virtual pitch with our presentation slides in video form with voiceover, and one for the conference calls for the judges’ Q&A and the announcement of the winning pitch.
Having our eyes set on a new goal, both teams resumed work by perfecting the last minor details on the pitch and preparing for the Q&A session. During this crucial phase we tried to anticipate the questions the judges might ask us. This taught us not only to critically examine our campaign and watch out for any weak spots that could still be improved wherever possible, but also to take ownership of the direction we decided to take with our campaigns and to justify this as the right decision in a convincing manner.
After the submission of our virtual pitches, each team was invited to a separate conference call where the judges gave critique on our pitches and had the opportunity to ask questions. This conference call resembled a real life Q&A session with a full panel of judges; our mentors from Coopr, the Erasmus staff, and of course the representatives from Chaudfontaine were all present. The judges offered praise for our campaigns while at the same time remaining very critical with their questions. A main lesson that we all took away from this was the importance of keeping in mind the client’s wishes and centralizing them as the most important thing. While it can become easy to get carried away by creativity and grand ideas along the way, being able to convince the client and win over their favor is the most important thing to a successful pitch.
After the individual Q&A sessions, a collective group call with both teams and the judges was organized to announce the winner. With a drumroll emanating from all the individual screens in the Zoom call, the announcement was made. The winning pitch was awarded to the “Smaken die Raken” campaign that spread a message of drinking purposefully by connecting Chaudfontaine’s fruit-flavored water to a local social cause.
In the end, we all felt proud of the work that we have managed to create with the help of our mentors and pleased with the new experience we gained in the field of PR. Despite the odds, we managed to bring a meaningful end to an incredibly fun and enriching Coopr Academy 2020! We want to thank Chaudfontaine for challenging us with this exciting brief, the entire Coopr team for their continued guidance and expertise, and Erasmus University for providing us with this great opportunity to gain practical experience.