NEW YORK, May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Mindfire, an idea engine fueled by hundreds of imaginative university students from around the world, was just awarded the Silver SABRE Award for PR Product of the Year by the Holmes Group. The community of young thinkers, created by global public relations firm Ketchum, beat out several products that optimize digital influence in a year when social media tools seemed to reign supreme.
Explained Paul Holmes, founder of the SABRE (Superior Achievement in Branding and Reputation) Awards, "It's important, amid all the excitement over the way technology has changed communication, to remember that social media consist of people. Technology may have opened up new digital channels for communications, but at the end of the day, those channels won't work unless people come up with compelling ideas that engage and influence other people. What Mindfire does is harness the power of people to generate great ideas."
According to Karen Strauss, partner and chief innovation officer at Ketchum and a developer of Mindfire, "We have built a brainpower collective of students to provide our clients with original ideas that are unconstrained by the geographic and psychological boundaries that people close to a creative challenge sometimes face."
Now in its second year of operation, Mindfire is a constantly changing online community of 400 students from 40 elite and diverse universities that include the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Celsa Universite de Paris, Yale University, Cornell University, Howard University and Leeds Metropolitan University in the U.K. Eager to give their students real-world work opportunities with large global companies, professors from these universities help recruit their most creative students to join Mindfire, and in exchange, students receive career coaching, training and job alerts from Ketchum, along with a prize provided by the client that issues each challenge.
"Mindfire's success lies in the great feedback we receive from professors, students and clients," said Brian Keenan, who manages Mindfire for Ketchum. "Just last month, a Mindfire student came up with the winning name for client IKEA's "Bring Your Own Friends" initiative, a first-time event that was deemed a big success," he added.
Richard Bailey, a senior lecturer in public relations at the Leeds Metropolitan University, said, "I am forever lecturing on the future, but Mindfire has brought the powerful example of crowdsourcing into the here and now."
Mindfire is a free resource for Ketchum clients, and to ensure confidentiality, participating students sign a non-disclosure statement before joining the community. As an added incentive for student participation, every idea posted on Mindfire results in an agency donation to Room to Read, Ketchum's philanthropic partner, for the purchase of local language books for children in the developing world.
The Silver SABRE Award will be officially presented at the annual North American SABRE Awards event in New York on May 8, for which Ketchum and its clients are finalists for 24 Diamond and Gold SABRE Awards, more than any other agency.
The current list of participating universities includes: American University (U.S.); Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (Argentina); The Media School, Bournemouth University (U.K.); Boston University (U.S.); Celsa Universite de Paris-Sorbonne (France); Chapman University (U.S.); The Chinese University of Hong Kong; College of Charleston (U.S.); Cornell University (U.S.); DePaul University (U.S.); Duke University (U.S.); Elon University (U.S.); Georgia College & State University (U.S.); Georgetown University (U.S.); Howard University (U.S.); Iona College (U.S.); James Madison University (U.S.); John's Hopkins University (U.S.); Leeds Metropolitan University (U.K.); Louisiana State University (U.S.); Marist College (U.S.); Marquette University (U.S.); MGIMO University (Russia); Mudra Institute of Communications (India); Murray State University (U.S.); New York University (U.S.); Northwestern University (U.S.); Seton Hill University (U.S.); St. Louis University (U.S.); Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (India); Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications (U.S.); Tsinghua University (China); Universidad de Navarra (Spain); Universidad UNIACC (Chile); University of Alabama (U.S.); University of Delaware (U.S.); University of Florida (U.S.); University of Maryland – College Park (U.S.); University of Missouri School of Journalism (U.S.); University of Oklahoma (U.S.); University of Southern California (U.S.); Yale University (U.S.)
Ketchum is a leading global communications firm with operations in more than 70 countries across six continents. Named 2012 PR Agency of the Year (PRWeek) and the winner of an unprecedented three consecutive PRWeek Campaign of the Year Awards, Ketchum partners with clients to deliver strategic programming, game-changing creative and measurable results that build brands and reputations. For more information on Ketchum, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), visit www.ketchum.com.
About Diversified Agency Services
Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com), manages Omnicom's holdings in a variety of marketing communications disciplines. DAS includes over 200 companies, which operate through a combination of networks and regional organizations, serving international and local clients through more than 700 offices in 71 countries.
About Omnicom Group Inc.
Omnicom Group Inc. (www.omnicomgroup.com) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom's branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.