A semester-long commitment to a project showcasing public relations, advertising and marketing skills proved to be worth the hard work, as five College of Communication & Creative Arts students swept the first place prize at the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge on March 4. The challenge, sponsored by a nonprofit called Marketing EDGE, provided students from colleges across the country with requirements with which to build their presentation around: create a multichannel campaign that appeals to the target demographic of busy moms in affluent suburbs in the US, and use multiple tactics to acquire new consumers. Tactics required included digital, non-digital, word of mouth, and guerilla marketing tactics.
The students — Kailey Bertelson (advertising), Brittany Eng (public relations, advertising), Megan Jean (studio art), Timothy Stanford (advertising), and Hannah Vendetta (public relations, advertising) — spent many long nights and weekends in the Public Relations & Advertising High Street building on campus, developing their campaign for BOXED, an e-commerce store and app that provides customers the convenience of purchasing household items in bulk online, and shipping to their door for an affordable price. The group’s winning campaign ran with the slogan “Two Day Shipping, More Two Day Weekends,” and included the optional addition of a video advertisement, featuring Hannah as a busy mom trying to balance maintaining a household and spending quality time with her kids. The judges loved the creativity and detail of the campaign, awarding the group, nicknamed “The Incredible Bulk,” first place and a cash prize of $2,000 to split!
“We worked great as a team because each of us brought something unique to the group. I think that helped us stand out to the judges,” Megan reflects. The students share that their professors in their public relations and advertising classes prepared them by giving them the foundation to tackle projects with a strategic mindset and provided advice and expertise throughout the semester.
“My Intro to PR and Advertising Research class prepared me the most for this challenge. A massive portion of the proposal was gathering the information that we needed, both secondary and primary,” Tim says. Brittany agrees that learning the techniques for research ahead of time in class definitely helped advance their campaign. “Our skills in media, design, research and writing are a result of our professors’ dedication towards bringing out the best qualities in their students,” she says. When the results were gathered and interpreted, Megan took the next step of designing their display: “I took everything that I learned from my graphic design professors to help put together the design. Once we had gathered all of our information it came down to getting it laid out to make it visually pleasing to the viewer,” she says.
And while knowledge and experience from classes definitely helped fuel the winning project, working together also helped each member of the group strengthen skills that they had not practiced before. Brittany admits that she came into the competition with little experience in research, but was confident that the competition would enhance her abilities in a real-world scenario — and it did! “Now I have experience creating and analyzing the results of a national scale survey,” she says, which is a major accomplishment for a college student.
Not only does their participation in a semester-long research project look great for future employers, but members of The Incredible Bulk can proudly say that their efforts came to fruition through their victory.
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Story by: Nicole Cier, junior writing arts major