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Eller College Home > Our Stories > Beyond the Classroom > Honda Insight Marketing Competition

Our Stories

Dynamic Learning Community : Eller Students Top Honda Insight Marketing Competition

Wilma and Wilbur with 2010 Honda Insight
Wilma and Wilbur Wildcat pose with the Honda Insight at UA
Homecoming 2009.

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December 2009

By Liz Warren-Pederson

Eller College undergraduates placed first in a competition to develop a peer promotional plan for the Honda Insight, beating out 20 other schools nationwide.

University of Arizona undergraduates in the Eller College of Management placed first in a competition to develop a peer promotional plan for the Honda Insight, beating out 20 other schools nationwide. The UA team was one of three finalists — including Georgia State University and California State University-Fullerton — to present to a panel of judges from American Honda Motor Company and ad agency Ruben Postaer and Associates in Los Angeles yesterday, culminating a semester-long project sponsored by EdVenture Partners.

“The students knocked it out of the park,” said Edward Ackerley, the team’s faculty advisor. “They thought through every aspect of this campaign and were able to take a really simple idea and bring it to life in a compelling way. They did a phenomenal job of representing the marketing department and the UA.”

Five students from Ackerley’s MKTG 425 Advertising Management class — marketing seniors Todd Lane, Shiloh Miller, Chelsea Robinson, Brandon Schempp, and Evan Singer — traveled to Los Angeles to present the results of their promotional campaign, which they developed and executed over the fall semester with a $2,500 budget.

The Four 2 Five Advertising Team
The Four 2 Five Advertising team, winners of the EdVenture Partners
Honda Insight Marketing Competition (L-R): Evan Singer, Todd Lane,
Shiloh Miller, Brandon Schempp, and Chelsea Robinson.

Photo by Tatiana Mia Photography.

“The class takes a case study approach to help students understand how advertising works in the marketing mix,” Ackerley said. Through an arrangement with EdVenture Partners, the students were assigned to a project, in this case, to promote the Honda Insight to university students ages 18-24. The class formed an ad agency with a director and divisions including operations, public relations, creative, marketing, and finance. “It’s completely self-directed,” Ackerley explained. “I started each class with a brief lecture and then turned it over to Evan Singer [the agency’s director] so that he could manage the ongoing project.”

This was the first year that the UA participated in an EdVenture project that concluded with a national competition; in previous years, the UA’s participation ended with a presentation to EdVenture representatives.

This year’s UA team — Four 2 Five Advertising — focused its on-campus promotional efforts around UA Homecoming weekend. “Each school was given a new 2010 Honda Insight for the designated event date,” says Singer. “However, we want to do the extraordinary, the unexpected. So we negotiated with Dobbs Honda and Chapman Honda and received two more new Honda Insights for our event.” They used the cars to create what Ackerley calls a “promotion with commotion,” which included UA mascot Wilbur, the UA marching band, games, giveaways, and more.

The team also developed a Facebook contest in which students were challenged to come up with a phrase using movie titles and no more than 140 characters to explain why the Insight is cool. The winner was awarded $100. In all, Ackerley said, the students wrung an estimated $28,000 in value out of their $2,500 budget.

“This program allows students to work on a project with real clients, real goals, real budgets, and real outcomes," Ackerley said. “Evan really summed it up best at the competition when he told the judges that the experience is one that the students will never forget.”

The Four 2 Five team is the latest in a series of Eller student teams to top national and international case competitions. In November, Eller students placed first in the Altria Sales Competition in Las Vegas and third in the Ohio State Biz Quiz, and in October, an Eller team was the only U.S. university in the finals of the Dalhouise University business ethics competition.

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