Boston University Students Olivia Zed and Sarah Dasher Winners of the Page and IPR Case Study Competition

by | Mar 21, 2019

Two Boston University students will receive the Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award for their submission analyzing Dove’s efforts to respond to a perceived discrepancy between what the brand purportedly celebrates and how it chose to promote its products. Olivia Zed and Sarah Dasher will be recognized, along with their academic advisor, Dr. Donald K. Wright, at the Page Spring Seminar on April 4-5, 2019 in New York City.

The Case Study Competition in Corporate Communications, which is sponsored by Page and the Institute for Public Relations(IPR), awards students whose original case studies best contribute to the profession’s body of knowledge and provide practical suggestions improving the corporate communication function. This year’s competition drew 56 entries from 24 communications and business schools in Canada, the Netherlands and the United States.

The winning submission, “Dove: A Purpose-Driven Brand in A Crisis of Sincerity,” analyzes the business and brand implications of a 2017 Dove commercial, which many consumers said was racist and followed similar offenses in 2011 and 2014. The students conclude that corporate communicators must help companies and brands meet rising consumer expectations by adhering to the Page Principles, “prove it with action” and “listen to stakeholders.”

“We are pleased to honor Olivia and Sarah with the Koten Award for their thoughtful work on this case study,” Page President Roger Boltonsaid. “Their case study demonstrates the importance of authenticity for companies seeking to create social value through their brands. Perceived disconnects between stated purpose and actual behavior will be noticed and punished. This case will be an important resource for corporate communications practitioners worldwide.”

In addition to the overall grand prize, the competition awards winners in the categories of Communications Schools and Business Schools. This year’s winners represent DePaul University, Brigham Young University, Grand Valley State University and the University of Notre Dame. See a complete list of the winning submissions and more information about the competition here.

“We received great entries from leading communications and business schools,” said Dr. Tina McCorkindale, President and CEO of IPR. “But what made the Dove case stand out was its successful exploration of how the dramatic increase in public demand for companies to create social value creates new reputational risks for organizations. Congratulations to Olivia, Sarah and their advisor, Professor Don Wright.

The annual competition is judged by a panel comprising Page members and Page Up members. Judges for this year’s competition included:

  • Al Comeaux, Elevate Credit
  • Andrea Staub, Perdue Farms
  • Brian Moriarty, University of Virginia
  • Candace Flippin, First Horizon National Corporation
  • Catherine Blades, Aflac
  • Dana Yeganian, Global Strategy Group
  • Diane Schwartz, Access Intelligence
  • Frank Ovaitt, Institute for Public Relations
  • Gary Grates, W2O Group
  • Gary Sheffer, Boston University
  • Geoff Curtis, Horizon Pharma plc.
  • Grant Toups, ICF Next
  • Grant McLaughlin, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Hillary Komma, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Ian Bailey, Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Jason Dressel, The History Factory
  • Jennifer Davis, Dell
  • Jennifer Swint, Porter Novelli
  • Joseph Micucci, W.W. Grainger
  • Juan Meng, University of Georgia
  • Karen Tripp, Enviva LP
  • Kathy Fitzpatrick, American University
  • Kelley Gannon
  • Ken Kerrigan, Weber Shandwick
  • Kerry Farrell, Lam Research Corp.
  • Kylie Wright-Ford, Reputation Institute
  • Larry Parnell, George Washington University
  • Linda Mills, Boeing
  • Lisa Hartenberger, Tenneco
  • Marcia DiStaso, University of Florida
  • Maria Russell, Syracuse University
  • Maria Tamburri, Dominion Energy
  • Mark Hass, Arizona State University
  • Marta Newhart
  • Matt Kucharski, Padilla
  • Matthew Yi, Blue Shield of California
  • Michael Merk, designvox
  • Michele Mazur, W.W. Grainger
  • Pat Ford, University of Florida
  • Rick White, Jarosa Partners
  • S Roy Kandpal, Adfactors PR
  • Sarab Kochhar, Institute for Public Relations
  • Tina McCorkindale, Institute for Public Relations
  • Varsha Chainani, Mahindra & Mahindra
  • Whitney Eichinger, Rock Ventures LLC

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