University of Florida Wins Top Prize in Page and Institute of Public Relations Case Study Competition

by | Apr 10, 2024

NEW YORK – April 9, 2024 – Four students from the University of Florida will receive the 2024 Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award, sponsored by Page and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR). Their submission analyzed how Mattel regained control over Barbie’s cultural narrative and pivoted the doll into the feminist figure the brand wanted her to be, and the impact of the campaign on stakeholders. Winners Rebecca Wolff, Mariela Dothe-Marcial, Chloe Oakes, and Katrina White will be sharing more about their case at an upcoming virtual event. They will also have the chance to discuss their case topic with Catherine Frymark, EVP of Corporate Communications at Mattel. Their faculty advisor is Pat Ford. 

The Case Study Competition awards students whose original case studies best contribute to the profession’s body of knowledge and provide practical suggestions for improving corporate communication as a function. This year’s competition drew 39 entries, 29 from communications schools and 10 from business schools, from 19 educational institutions across the United States, China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The winning submission, “Were Mattel’s Efforts Kenough?” analyzes Mattel’s strategy to reposition the Barbie brand in the minds of consumers as part of the live-action movie released in 2023. Mattel’s iconic Barbie doll has been a cornerstone of American pop culture since its launch in 1959, but controversy over Barbie’s prior lack of inclusivity and unrealistic standards for women cast a shadow over the doll’s reputation. The students explored how Mattel successfully transformed Barbie and recontextualized the brand for future generations of fans.  They also assess the impact of the campaign on stakeholders, as well as evaluate it in accordance with the Page Principles.

“We are thrilled to honor Rebecca, Mariela, Chloe, and Katrina along with their academic advisor, Pat Ford, with the Koten Award for their thoughtful work on this case study,” said Dr. Tina McCorkindale, president and CEO of IPR. “This timely and relevant case demonstrates that when corporations listen to and act on their stakeholders’ evolving interests, it can reinvigorate a brand and expand its customer base.”

“Today’s stakeholders expect businesses to speak to and reflect the society in which they operate,” Page President Roger Bolton said. “This winning case study highlights the initiatives that businesses today must take in order to evolve with society and promote diversity and inclusivity. I hope that the lessons from this case study become an important resource for strategic communication leaders worldwide.”

In addition to the overall grand prize, other winners include: 

  • 1st place: Ball State University for their case about Bud Light, “Cracking Open A Case: The Anheuser-Busch Response to Bud Light Boycott;”
  • 2nd place: DePaul University for “Adidas Says BYE: Adidas Drops Partnership with Ye.” 

To read the winning submissions and to find more information about the competition, please visit: https://page.org/resource-type/2024-case-study-competition/

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

  • Elizabeth Ananto, Trisakti University
  • Pierre Goad, Goad Partners LLP
  • Scott Kronick, Ogilvy PR
  • Vilma Luoma-aho, University of Jyvaskyla
  • Bevin Maguire, Applied Materials
  • Cortney Stapleton, The Bliss Group
  • Michele Mazur, Labcorp
  • Susan Henderson, Henderson Consulting, LLC
  • Amy Chiconas , Vibrantz Technologies
  • Emily Garbaccio, American International Group (AIG)
  • Emily Russel, Electronic Arts
  • Gautham Appaya, Wabtec Corporation
  • Geoff Curtis, Marshall Curtis Communications
  • Jennifer Nelson, Prologis
  • Kristin Tetreault, Dollar Tree
  • Larry Parnell, George Washington University
  • Natalie Tindall, University of Texas at Austin
  • Nina Reinhardt, RXO
  • Whitney Eichinger, Southwest Airlines
  • Beth Toal, St. Luke’s Health System
  • Doshia Stewart, Allegion
  • Gary Sheffer, Boston University
  • Jason Dressel, History Factory
  • Katerina Tsetsura, University of Oklahoma
  • Linda Mills, The Clorox Company
  • Raoul Bhavnani, Betterment
  • Arwa Husain, Adfactors PR Private Limited
  • Karen Cho, Randstad NV
  • Brian Moriarty, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia
  • Jeff Shelman, U.S. Bancorp
  • Kristen Thistle, UnitedHealth Group
  • Matthew Yi, Blue Shield of California
  • Molly Steinkrauss, The Clorox Company
  • Carolina Mata, Integral
  • James Smith-Plenderleith, Johnson & Johnson
  • Nancy Fitzsimmons, Hill+Knowlton Strategies
  • Bryan DeAngelis, Penta
  • Gabrielle Poshadlo, Ford Motor Company
  • Jackie Hartzell , Ally Financial
  • James Beechinor-Collins, Highwire
  • Jason Greenspan, The Grossman Group
  • Matt Kucharski, Padilla
  • Sara Banda, L3 Harris Technologies
  • LaShonda Eaddy, Penn State University

About the Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award

As the first chair of Page, Jack Koten was among the founding members who extracted from Arthur Page’s lifetime of work the set of defining values that we know today as the Page Principles. These Principles not only serve as criteria for this competition but also as a guide for Page members in their daily work. Jack personified the belief that businesses should operate honestly and honorably, and with unwavering integrity.

Upon his passing in 2014, Jack bequeathed funds to Page that its Board of Trustees voted to use to fund in perpetuity the annual Case Study Competition grand prize, which that year was renamed the Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award.

About Page

Page is a global membership organization that brings together the world’s leading communications executives to strengthen the enterprise leadership role of the chief communications officer (CCO). Our purpose is rooted in the belief that a strong Communications function results in enterprises that are more responsible, trustworthy and responsive to stakeholders, which in turn helps transform business for the better. Page has nearly 800 members in 25 countries, representing a multitude of industries, leading PR agencies, influential nonprofits and NGOs, and highly respected academicians. We are dedicated to advancing the leadership capabilities of the CCO and the communications profession through thought leadership, learning programs and networking experiences to connect the brightest industry minds to create a better future. For more information, please visit www.page.org 

About the Institute for Public Relations

The Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit research foundation dedicated to fostering greater use of research and research-based knowledge in corporate communication and the public relations practice. IPR is dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations.™ IPR provides timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. All research, including a weekly research letter, is available for free at instituteforpr.org.

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