What is the Advertising Capstone Challenge?

The Advertising Capstone Challenge connects students with real clients and industry partners, to provide an authentic learning experience unlike any other in Australasia.

Undergraduate students at Swinburne University of Technology, Western Sydney University, the University of the Sunshine Coast, and Auckland University of Technology are presented with a ‘live’ client brief by a leading industry partner and are challenged to develop an innovative and strategic campaign in response.

Finalists present their campaign solutions to agency and client executives, with coveted industry internships and mentorships awarded to winning students, along with a trophy and certificate that they can add to their portfolio.

The authentic, industry-based learning ensures that the graduating talent of tomorrow are fully prepared with vital knowledge and skills necessary for today’s complex and constantly-evolving business environment.

Harry Dugmore

Harry Dugmore is a Senior Lecturer and Discipline Lead in Communication at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) School of Business and Creative Industries. Harry’s experience and research covers the entertainment, marketing, and strategic communication industries.

John Greig

John Greig worked in the advertising industry for over 30 years before joining Western Sydney University in 2014. His industry experience covered problem solving and visual communications at a number of advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, McCann Worldwide, M&C Saatchi, Publics Mojo, Lowe Lintas and DDB Sydney.

David Reid

David Reid is a lecturer in advertising at Swinburne University of Technology, having previously taught at Charles Sturt, Curtin and Northumbria Universities. He has won Swinburne Faculty, and University level awards and a National AAUT citation for his teaching, and engagement with industry.

Daniel Fastnedge

Daniel Fastnedge is a lecturer in advertising and brand creativity at the Auckland University of Technology. Dan has experience as an art director in London and Auckland at agencies including M&C Saatchi, FCB, Proximity, and Ogilvy One. His students have been recognised in with AXIS and D&AD student awards.

The initiative has been supported by these industry partners:

M&C Saatchi


Leo Burnett


AJF Partnership


Doyle Dane Bernbach Logo



Deloitte Digital


M&C Saatchi


Bastion Creative


Special Group


With thanks to these clients and their brands:

Cricket Australia

Womens Big Bash League




Dare Iced Coffee





Tourism Australia


Cancer Institute NSW

NSW Government


Pacific Brands Underwear Group

History of the Challenge

When Swinburne University of Technology realised a need for undergraduate students to gain real industry experience through their studies, they began to embed real-world challenges into their advertising curriculum.

This idea of bringing clients to the classroom for hands-on learning and mentorship evolved into the Advertising Capstone Challenge in 2016, with the collaboration of The University of Queensland. In 2019, Western Sydney University joined the challenge.

Fast forward to 2023 and the Advertising Capstone Challenge has grown to become an Australasian competition welcoming the University of the Sunshine Coast, and Auckland University of Technology as new partners,


Students participating


Industry Internships offered


Dynamic Teams formed


National Finalists