In this month’s blog, we would like to draw your attention to two theses that excelled at the edcom Thesis Competition 2017-2018.

The edcom Thesis Competition rewards the best Bachelor and Master theses on advertising or commercial communications among edcom member schools. This year, the competition welcomed 21 entries from 10 European countries in both categories. The bar was set high and judges appreciated the level of the entries.

The winning entries passed through three rounds of judging with flying colours. In the first round, entries were judged upon their relevance to the field of commercial communications. In the subsequent round, the papers were judged upon the following criteria: Strong objectives (10%); Clearly developed methodology (20%); Results fitting to the proposed objectives (30%); Conclusions based on the objectives and suggestions for further research (20%); Consistency & coherence (20%). The final three theses in each category where then evaluated according to their novelty (does the thesis offer a new and original insight) and scale (what is the magnitude of the achievement).

The winning Bachelor Thesis

In this category, the thesis of Caitlin Brands, student at Avans Hogeschool, Netherlands, stood out. The thesis entitled: “Mobile interactivity meets the Out of Home industry ‘A mediating instrument to fill in the market gap’” aims to close the bridge between media agencies, advertisers and consumers.

The main question that arose in the beginning of the paper is: “how can an interactive scanning application be used as a mediating instrument to fill in the gap between these three key players on the Out-of-Home media industry?”. Caitlin explains how she carried out an exploratory and qualitative research in order to assess the current situation. The research was designed by using established models, such as the Business Model Canvas, the Value Proposition Canvas and Porter’s Five Forces as a first step.

The second part of her research consisted of exploratory interviews. The interviews were held by roaming the streets to gain as many insights on the needs of the target group as possible. The last step was to hold brainstorming sessions. Ideas that had been gathered and tested based on technical applicability, practical applicability, feasibility and suitability by conducting semi-structured interviews with experts in all relevant fields were presented to all key players.

The findings of the paper were:

  • Media agencies need to shift their focus from B2B to B2C and preferably from a consumer’s perspective.
  • End users need to be targeted very specifically in order to convince them to engage with a brand.
  • All three key players  (media agencies, advertisers and consumers) share different interests and want to gain a personal advantage before committing to an interactive application: media agencies want to use the application as a tool to gather data they could not gather before, consumers want to get discounts or specific information on a brand, and advertisers want to increase brand engagement and customer loyalty.

Caitlin concludes that all those findings make the interactive scanning application (called ‘Capture’) a mediating instrument which generates real-time data when consumers use the application, including a loyalty program for consumers that increases brand engagement at the same time.

The judges commented that her research stood out to them because of the relevance of this topic and hypothesis in today’s industry. In addition, Caitlin had a good approach with a different touch point (CANVAS) and had smart recommendation for the “Capture” model.

More information about her research can be found here, or click on the image to enlarge the poster.


Click on the image for full resolution. 

The winning Master Thesis

In the Master category, the thesis that impressed the judges the most was: “Hospitality living LAB- A communications device to control satisfaction with tourism and quality of life in the city”, by Patricia Oliveira, student at IADE University, Portugal.

The basic idea of Patricia’s thesis is that City Tourism has known some of the fastest growth in the world and its changing nature becomes increasingly apparent in many cities, including Lisbon. In her summary, Patricia states that access to information through mobile devices is constant and tourists seek to find and consume local experiences where interaction with residents becomes an important aspect. Although the impact of ICT (information and communication technologies) in the tourism industry as well as in the behaviour of tourists and travel experiences has been recognised, Patricia argues that the implication of this new type of urban tourism needs more attention from managers of cities.

The judges were very impressed with the level of her research, which she folded out in an interesting, practical and relevant way. Another aspect that grabbed the attention of the judges was that the insight of the research started from a very rational and objective need, namely the time management of tourists, even during short trips.

More information about her research can be found here, or click on the image to enlarge the poster.

Click on the image for full resolution.

Awarding the winners

To recognise their success, Caitlin and Patricia will be awarded with a €400 cash prize and both of their universities will receive a €400 voucher to be used on Educational EACA and edcom initiatives. In addition, all finalists will receive a merit certificate to recognise their great work and efforts.

The next edition of the edcom Thesis Competition will be launched on 3 September 2018. For more details please visit our website.