Media Design School students Frey McCahon-Jones + Reece O’Gorman win 2023 Student ORCAs

Media Design School students Frey McCahon-Jones + Reece O’Gorman win 2023 Student ORCAs

Media Design School’s Frey McCahon-Jones and Reece O’Gorman were recently named winners of this year’s Student ORCAs.


The 2023 briefs challenged both MDS and AUT student teams to come up with a campaign of ads to either answer a live brief for Volkswagen or a brief for the ASB Subscription Tracker app.

The winning campaign was worked around the insight that, given humans are by their very nature contradictory, they should celebrate it with a car that promises the contradiction of performance and economy.

Says Kate Humphries, programme director for creative advertising, MDS: “Frey and Reece not only wrote the ads, Frey also voiced all three of the ads, because none of us could imagine hearing the ads with anything else but his sprightly voice.

“A big cheer also to our other MDS finalist team Rose Heron and Lucy Lim for making it into the top three (out of the 50 odd submissions from MDS and AUT) for their Not Even You campaign for the ASB Subscription Tracker brief. And a big shout out to Katherine Rawlings and KR actors for finding us the voice talent for Lucy and Rose’s campaign. And Congrats also to AUT’s Keeley James and Brooke McGrath for winning the runner up spot.

Media Design School students Frey McCahon-Jones + Reece O’Gorman win 2023 Student ORCAs

“A huge-hand-on-heart thank-you to the 2023 Student ORCA Judges, Rory McKechnie (DDB), Matt Williams (DDB) and Matt Watts (Chemistry); not only for having to read through 150 plus scripts to pick out the three finalists, but also to Rory and Matt Williams for organising the VW brief and, as they’ve done repeatedly for the Student ORCAs, arranging the recording at DDB for the finalists.

“Three birthday-bump-style hurrahs to the Peter Richardson and Fleur Herscott from TRB as well as Alistair Jamison from the Radio Broadcasters Association for organising the briefs, the briefing, the judging and inviting all the student finalists along to the Industry ORCA awards at Cibo, because for students in a cost-of-living-challenged Auckland it was a special treat.

“A huge thank you to both TRB and RBA for running and supporting the Student ORCAs each year, because inspiring a love for great audio ideas in students is so important. And it was particularly heartening this year to see MDS alumni featured in all of the Industry ORCAs this year with Callum McDonald and Hadleigh Sinclair being part of the winning team for Skinny’s ‘Phone It In’ which won the 2023 Grand ORCA; and Aaron Carbines and Tim Gavriel taking out both the People’s Choice award and the Grand ORCA for the non-standard campaign.

“And on the subject of inspiring great radio, congratulations to the always phenomenal Simon Vicars for the Grand-Prix-Pencil-winning-juggernaut that was Skinny’s Phone it In campaign that won the Grand ORCA (not putting the words ‘standard’ campaign after that folks, because in no way was that campaign standard).”