Waikato’s walking warriors win top PR campaign award

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Above: The winning Walk About NZ team members from the University of Waikato (from left): Majed Albusaie, James Forster, Roxana Davies, Marissa Holder, Ruby McClennan, Sarah Chell, Gaby Busby, Matt Ballinger and Georgina Wootten.

A team of University of Waikato students who inspired 230 strangers to get more physically active and walk nearly 10 million steps in five days has won the Chesterman Group Public Relations Campaign Award 2015 on behalf of their client, Sport Waikato.

The Walk About NZ team blew the judges away with the success of their campaign – targeting sedentary office workers in Hamilton – which used the spirit of friendly competition to encourage 27 workplaces to collectively walk 9,850,951 steps – that’s about 7463km, or 4.6 times the length of New Zealand.

“We’ve heard so many success stories from Walk About 2015,” says team member Marissa Holder. “We couldn’t believe how energised people were about it; 98 percent of participants told us they want to keep walking as a result of the campaign, and they lost weight as well!”

Appealing to people’s competitive instincts, the 230 registered participants were asked to upload their pedometer steps to the Walk About NZ website every day during ‘Walking Week’, from September 21-25, and go head-to-head with other workplaces to claim top spot on the leader board. The key message for the campaign was ‘Stop scrolling, start strolling’, to encourage people to step away from their computer and go for a healthy walk.

Sport Waikato project manager Stephanie McLennan says they jumped at the chance to get involved when approached by Waikato Management School public relations lecturer Ben Worth.

“Every single aspect of what the students have done during their campaigns has just been outstanding. They’ve demonstrated doggedness, determination and enthusiasm,” says Stephanie. “Sport Waikato will certainly be looking to utilise some of what their campaigns have started on for our activities in the future.”

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