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Department of Advertising and Public Relations students win Google's Online Marketing Challenge Social Media Award

AUSTIN, Texas – August 22, 2012 – A student team from The University of Texas at Austin College of Communication has been named the Global Winner of the first annual Google Social Media Award, which is part of the 2012 Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC).

More than 150 teams competed for the award, which recognizes teams for best-run Google+ company or organization pages and clearly-communicated social media strategies.

The winning team, also known as Pulse 5, consisted of Caroline Snavely, Kristin Carden, Kimberly Bolton, Erika Willrodt and Ellen Webb.

Department of Public Relations and Advertising Senior Lecturer Lisa Dobias selected the Google Online Marketing Challenge as a project for her Spring 2012 Advanced Media Strategies course. The course is part of TexasMedia, a highly selective communications planning sequence that Dobias directs.

"Inspiring students to become great media thinkers of today and the future, while familiarizing them with the practical tools and methodologies to make their visions a reality is the dual mission of TexasMedia," said Dobias.

The student agencies in Dobias' class were tasked with selecting a small-to-medium business or nonprofit organization and managing a Google AdWords campaign for their clients. This year, Google added the Social Media Award, which requires that students create and manage a Google+ page for their selected business or nonprofit, in addition to the AdWords campaign.

Pulse 5 partnered with Dallas-based retail chain The Impeccable Pig to bolster their online presence.

"We knew we could make a big difference and help them increase sales and their social media presence a lot," said Snavely, a senior public relations major. "The owners were also very excited and willing to work with us, so they let us pretty much have free reign over our project."

Using Google+, the team increased brand awareness for The Impeccable Pig by engaging customers with behind-the-scenes access to a fashion show featuring the store's merchandise, and showcasing fashion trends.

"We all learned tremendously at every stage," said Dobias. "To have our students recognized as global winners in the competition is a pleasant bonus. I have always known how talented our TexasMedia students are. Now the world knows, as well!"

For a complete listing of the 2012 GOMC winners, visit

About The University of Texas at Austin College of Communication

One of the nation's foremost institutions for the study of advertising and public relations, communication sciences and disorders, communication studies, journalism and radio-TV-film, The University of Texas at Austin College of Communication is preparing students to thrive in an era of media convergence. Serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students, the College is nationally recognized for its faculty members, research and student media. For more information about the College of Communication, visit


Contacts: Laura Byerley, (512) 471-2182; or Lisa Dobias, (512) 471-1101.

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