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 Australia.

Undergraduate students at Swinburne University of Technology, The University of Queensland, and Western Sydney University, 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.

Nicolas Pontes

Nicolas Pontes is a lecturer in Marketing at The University of Queensland and founder of Newish Communications, UQ’s student-run agency. He has more than eight years of teaching experience at leading universities in Australia and has published several academic papers in the leading marketing international journals.

John Greig

John Greig has worked in the advertsing industry for over 30 years. Before joining Western Sydney University in 2014, John’s industry experience covered problem solving and visual communications. The advertising agencies John worked for has included 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.

The initiative has been supported by these industry partners:

M&C Saatchi


Leo Burnett


AJF Partnership


Doyle Dane Bernbach Logo



Deloitte Digital


With thanks to these clients and their brands:

Cricket Australia

Womens Big Bash League




Dare Iced Coffee





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, which has since seen great success with over:


Students participating


Industry Internships offered


Dynamic Teams formed


National Finalists