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Eller class wins Honda contest

UA students defeated 20 other schools in a national marketing competition to promote the Honda Insight.


""We stood out because we were ourselves. We had personality and humor,"" said Evan Singer, a marketing senior and the team's agency director. ""It's little things that made the difference.""

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Five students from the Eller College of Management represented an advertising management class (MKTG 425) at the Honda Insight Marketing Challenge.


The team's representatives, marketing seniors Todd Lane, Shiloh Miller, Chelsea Robinson, Brandon Schempp and Evan Singer, were finalists in the challenge and were invited to Los Angeles to present the results of their campaign to Honda executives. They presented to American Honda Motor Company and advertising agency Rubin Postaer and Associates.


It was originally a project sponsored by EdVenture Partners, a small agency which develops industry education partnerships at over 650 colleges for clients such as Honda, the Recording Industry Association of America and L.L. Bean.


During the fall semester, the team had to measure the awareness at the UA of the Honda Insight and then improve the amount of their peers' awareness. They took a survey at the beginning and end of their marketing campaign and found that they had nearly doubled the awareness.


""I love to go to national competitions to see the best of the best compete,"" said Tony Sgro, CEO and founder of EdVenture Partners. ""It's remarkable to see what UA students did.""


Not only did the students win first place, but the Eller College of Management will receive $5,000, which will be used to help the marketing department and for scholarships.


""Their win will help future students do similar competitions,"" Ackerley said.


Singer said that it was all 50 students in the advertising management class that made the project ""what it was.""


According to Ed Ackerley, their professor and advisor for the competition, the students used their budget for the competition effectively.


""(They) took $2,500 and turned it into $28,000, which was a nice return on the investment for the client,"" Ackerley said.


The students decided to use UA's Homecoming weekend as a platform on which to advertise the Honda Insight. They brought three Honda Insights to be in the parade, and they had a prize wheel students could spin. 


For the project, the students were only given one Honda, but they asked local car dealerships if they could use some for the Homecoming parade and Bear Down Friday.


""Their actual presentation was exceptional,"" Sgro said. ""They tied it into a big cultural iconic event at Arizona football. That's what the students thought was a good platform for Honda. The ads, the branding and the messaging were dynamite.""


Singer said this was one of the best experiences he's had at Eller and even one of the best of his life. He added that he originally had not considered competing in a marketing campaign his senior year.


He said what appealed to him about the Honda Insight Marketing Challenge was that students were given a real budget and had to create and implement a strategy.


The competition was very different from anything he'd ever done in the classroom or in other competitions.


""When you're thrown into something like this where you have to implement a real campaign and you're held accountable,it forces you to learn these skills,"" Singer said.


As seniors, Singer and the other students walk away with not only the satisfaction of winning but also a beefed-up resume.


""It gives them some very powerful, impressive talking points when they talk to prospective employers,"" Sgro said. ""We're not hiring right now, but I'd hire them in a minute.""


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