UH has been selected as one of 20 U.S. universities to participate in the Honda Civic Marketing Challenge, in which students will have a chance to present their “Miles for Friendship” marketing campaign to Honda executives at the end of the spring term.
The Valenti Group, an in-class marketing agency created by students in Local Advertising Campaigns, is responsible for researching, implementing and evaluating an integrated marketing campaign.
“With the Honda Civic Marketing Challenge, we have a great opportunity to demonstrate what we have learned as students at the University of Houston and gain real-world experience by creating a marketing campaign for a prestigious client,” said Martin Mathus, coordinator of the Valenti Group. “It’s a great opportunity to see what we can do.”
The campaign is aimed at increasing purchase consideration and interest in the 2013 Honda Civic Sedan among people in the 18 to 35 age group.
“Our goal is to present the Honda Civic as a cool vehicle,” said electrical power engineering junior Ronald Sampson. “We are trying to get young people to want to buy the car.”
On April 4, the Valenti Group will present its campaign, named “Miles of Friendship,” to the target audience at the University Center. Advertising senior Angel Gonzalez, who is in the class, said the group going to have games and music to make the event as interactive and attractive to students as possible.
EdVenture Partners, an organization dedicated to developing innovative industry and education partnership programs to provide hands-on experience and recruiting access to college students, is working with Honda to bring this program to life.
The Valenti Group was provided $3,000 by Honda to create its campaign. Students will begin by conducting research to find out more about the target market, analyze the findings and design the campaign.
“Through programs like this, Honda gets all the research information they need through students for about a third of what they would pay if they were working with an advertising agency,” said Charlie Thorp, who teaches a class on local advertising campaigns and is the adviser to the Valenti Group.
“And the students get experience in return. They learn about the conflicts and controversies involved in getting a marketing campaign accomplished. They work with real clients and real deadlines. If they miss a deadline, they waste the client’s money. That’s a big deal.”
Students also learn that every client is different, and that they have to adjust to their particularities.
“We came up with the name “Friends with Benefits” at first, but Honda refuted it immediately because it had a suggestive double meaning,” Thorp said. “Then we learned that Honda is more on the conservative side, so we have to play by those rules.”
On April 25, the Valenti Group students will conduct a post-campaign research and conclude with a formal presentation to Honda and EdVenture Partners representatives summarizing the campaign results.