CLE student team knows about “Making It” in national advertising competition

December 19, 2016

An advertising campaign for the 2017 Acura ILX created by a student-run advertising agency at the Whiting School’s Center for Leadership Education took home third place last week in the 2017 Acura ILX Marketing Challenge, an industry-education partnership facilitated by EdVenture Partners and sponsored by Acura. The JHU team came in just behind rivals from the University of Rhode Island and the University of New Mexico.

Because all three teams’ final scores were so close, each earned the first-place prize of $5,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles, where the student marketers presented their campaigns to Acura and advertising executives.

Leaders of the Apex Blue Strategies team, left to right: Aleexsan Adal (ChemBE), Marcia Zimmerman (Writing Seminar), Morgan Marc (Cognitive Science), Rachel Shavel (Writing Seminar) and Katie Chang (International Studies)

Designed and implemented by the CLE’s Apex Blue Strategies for an upper-level Advertising/Integrated Marketing Communications class, the “Making It” campaign included online advertisements, social media, and branded events, including one in which a sparkling new Acura ILX was parked on the plaza outside of Levering. The team even placed an article in Buzzfeed. (In “5 Reasons Why My Dream Car Should Be Your Dream Car,” readers learned that driving an ILX will “Make you feel like the young professional you’ve always wanted to be” and “It will bring uncomfy calls with Uber drivers to an end.”)

EdVenture Partners gave each of the 20 university teams competing in the challenge $2,000 to help underwrite the costs of creating and executing their campaigns.

“Their task was to develop an integrated marketing plan for the Acura ILX that targeted Millennials,” said Leslie Kendrick, CLE senior lecturer and course instructor. “Developing, implementing and analyzing the impact of such an integrated marketing campaign in a 13-week semester is a tall order, but they executed it beautifully and successfully. I was very impressed with their hard work, dedication, creativity and professionalism.

“Several engineers in the class traded problem sets for this applied project, which challenged their leadership, communication, and time-management skills,” Kendrick said.

Aleexsan Adal, a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major and one of Apex Blue’s project managers, noted the value of business skill development in addition to engineering projects.

“If you give it your all, the holistic lessons learned through this experience will shine through in interviews,” said Adal.

In an email to the team, Brittney Smith, EdVenture Partners account manager, and Brandi Glover, EdVenture Partners program coordinator, wrote “Thank you again for all of your hard work and dedication to the program! Your ‘Making It’ campaign was very successful and it is extremely impressive for students of various majors, from Chemical Engineering to Writing Seminars, to be able to come together and create such a unique and creative campaign.”

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