Little Marketers

I wanted to give an update on where we are with our students at W.H. Adamson High.  It has been somewhat of a challenge, but overall I am happy with the progress they have made so far.  As you may remember we started our adventure with them at the end of September.  There are four classes total.  Each class was a given a brand and their task is to create a campaign plan for products they themselves have invented.

The first class was assigned McDonald’s, and they have created the McOmelet.  It’s smart because such a product would be easy to begin producing for McDonald’s.  The majority of ingredients are already in place, and the class felt omelets would appeal to somewhat of a different clientele that McDonald’s does not currently reach.  The McOmelet alone will cost $3.99, and the meal will cost $4.99.  They are targeting working, multicultural people between the ages 18-30.  Their campaign will be based on the idea that “The new McOmlette is a new way to have eggs at McDonald’s.”  This is the more practical group.  They’re also the smallest, and least disruptive.  Go figure, this is also the class that our former super intern, Adan Gonzalez is in.

Our second class’ brand is Boost Mobile.  Their concept for a new product is the new Miii Phone, a phone that changes colors depending on how you’re feeling.  Remember mood rings?  Similar, but I think their vision is a more technologically advanced version.  For example, if the outer covering of the phone changes colors, the backlight of the phone will change too, so the keys on the phone will shift colors periodically also.  Let me briefly list all the other tricks this phone would be able to do: A super thin phone that’s screen can slide vertically and horizontally.  It will have a touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard, a standard 10 megapixel and video camera with a flash, flashdrive capabilities, tracking abilities, high quality loud speakers (loud enough to entertain a whole party if need be), music mixing applications, music searching ability, perfected voice texting, a built-in radio transmitter, free GPS, wireless earbuds, video editing functions and video conferencing.  Lastly, since this phone will be able to predict your mood, the class imagines it will also react to certain situations.  For instance, if the phone senses that you’re angry, it might start playing a happy, cheery song in an effort to lift spirits.  One student said, “Yeah, like…the phone is sad when you’re mad.”  Ideas like these are how they arrived to their messaging platform: The new Boost Mobile Miii phone is a little version of you.  Their target is a consumer between 18-25 years old with a slight female skew.  This class is bigger with about 25 students, and they’re all pretty funny.

Our third class is working on a campaign for the newest Nike backpack called the Nike Reload.  This backpack massages your shoulders and back while you wear it.  It also has music capabilities, and it has a hefty amount of pockets so that the consumer can store all their numerous smaller items as well (phones, makeup bags, wallets, etc).  The Reload is for the very active high school or college student between ages 15-23.  Purchasers of this backpack rarely get breaks.  If they’re not in class, they’re at work or at practice.  They feel stressed at times, and would love to get a professional massage, but don’t really have the time or money.  These insights are what formulated their single idea to stimulate change in the consumer’s mind: The Nike Reload provides me with the relief I need to keep up with my busy day.  The class insists that this will be the backpack that revolutionizes the backpack as we know it.  They are our other smaller group.  It was tough getting them to voice their ideas at first, but they are starting to come around.

The fourth and final class will be marketing the Ford Titanium, Ford’s newest addition to their SUV line.  This is another class with high aspirations for their product.  The damn thing can pretty much do everything but fly.  A description of design and features: Luxury SUV with a 6.2 liter V10 engine.  Although the vehicle will have a performance engine, it will also be a hybrid.  There will be three seating areas – The two front seats, a middle row of seats, and toward the back there will be U-shaped, lounge style seating.  The front seats will be equipped with screens on the backs of the headrests.  More features include a built-in phone, video conferencing, self-parking ability for parallel parking, voice activation, surround sound, Wifi (optional with upgrade), built-in collapsible car seats, 25 inch rims, built-in hard drive to upload music and other data, cable TV (optional with upgrade), touch screens built into the windows (optional with upgrade), self-tinting or transition windows (darkness varies by sunlight), stain/heat resistant upholstery, built-in mini refrigerator (optional with upgrade), greeting/farewell, crash/emergency response, automatic temperature adjustment (optional with upgrade), sensory brakes and body responsive reaction, rear camera, hidden camera by the steering wheel in case of theft, video surveillance, tracking capabilities and the ability to shut down completely in case of attempted theft.

Yeah I know, WOW.  All this, and would you believe this automobile starts at just $45,000?  The target for their messaging is going to be hard-working, young and affluent parents between ages 27-34.  The stance they will take when crafting their messages: The new Ford Titanium’s advanced technology separates me and my family from the ordinary.  Here we have another large class.  The majority of them have very creative ideas, but their attention spans tend to be short.

Keep in mind that all of the products are only concepts.  We’re not really going to create them.  The reason we had them brainstorm ideas for their products was so they would be proud of what they were promoting.  After each class agreed on its product and product name, we then gave them a lesson on research and strategic planning.  Their homework assignment was to create a survey with questions relevant to their products.  Each student then found five different respondents to gain insight.  Upon review of the answers on the surveys, we then guided them through writing a creative brief.  Then last week we taught them about media, and placed emphasis on how rapidly the world of media is changing.  Social media was certainly a main component of this discussion.  Their media plans are all fairly similar.  Each class will utilize TV, radio, out-of-home and some form of digital media intertwined with social media.  Some classes are using print, and one class will base much of their efforts on local events.  As mentioned, there have been struggles in getting them to this point.  But my hope is that they’ll soon become extremely more engaged as we begin the creative lesson next week.  Now that they’re equipped with the needed research and media plan, I feel they’re prepared for the fun part, and this is where some of them will truly begin to shine.

Even though every day is somewhat of a test, I have to admit that we are having fun doing this.  I have seen a bit of a turnaround in some these kids also.  The ones who were shy off the bat are now more involved, and considering what we’re asking of these high school students who formerly knew nothing about advertising, they’re doing very well.  And I shouldn’t forget to mention that they’re helping us just as much as we’re helping them.  These classes represent the face of today’s Lateen.  Anytime we need input on ideas from the agency, we discuss them with the class.  The feedback they provide is extremely useful, and they expedite our decision making when we hit a crossroads.  Don’t get me wrong, some of them are still very quiet.  And of course we have a decent share of class clowns, but it all adds to the insight we’re gaining just by visiting with them a couple hours a week.  We’ll check back in once their ad concepts begin to come to life.  In the meantime, feel free to leave comments.

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