Marketing Students Test Mettle in Annual “Battle of the Brands”

Student teams create their best campaigns, in pursuit of a $1,000 prize

Marketing Students Test Mettle in Annual “Battle of the Brands”

More than 200 MBA students and faculty gathered in Sage Hall Atrium to celebrate the end of the “Battle of the Brands,” the Johnson’s annual two-week competition, in which the school’s first-year marketing students participate. Students have the opportunity to create and execute marketing plans for products and engage with sponsoring companies: Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Reckitt-Benckiser, and NBTY.

The teams participating in the competition were assigned products from the sponsoring companies, such as RoC Skincare, Dove Men+Care Body Wash, and MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil pills. The students were given $250 and assigned to one company and one product to market to the Johnson community. Over a two-week period, teams developed marketing plans and executed campaigns to promote their products. Posters, flyers, and videos were seen all throughout campus as teams scrambled to sell their products.

The Atrium was abuzz with customers eager to purchase the products they had seen advertised all over campus for weeks. The five teams were stationed at booths, with flashy displays and matching t-shirts. Some teams even had photo zones, beer kiosks, and games.

Winners were announced at the Marketing Executive One-on-One Coaching luncheon on November 1, 2013. The first-place prize, a $1000 gift card from American Express, was awarded to Reckitt Benckiser’s MegaRed team. The team members, Sam Lambson, Tiger Cai, Cassie Fossum, Ted Allister, Jeff Phillips, Cindy Seo, and Anneliese Miller, coached by second- year Brett Vegas, stood out with their superhero costumes and vibrant, comic book-inspired posters all over Sage. Second place went to Unilever’s Dove Men+Care Body Wash team, and third place went to NBTY’s Balance Bar team.

While the teams had different marketing strategies, they all agreed that the competition was a  good learning experience. Janice Claudio-Morales, MBA ’15, said that the experience was valuable, because they were pressed to look at the product differently as they listened to the insights of the community.

“We had to look at a lot of things, look at the market research, get to know the consumer, see how we can actually position the product; and all that goes back to the marketing campaign, the strategy,” she said, which helped her and her team to realize the importance of taking care of the product, because the consumer is sensitive to it.

The hardest part for several of the teams was the time constraint, especially when it came to the earlier stages of planning. Zach Roberts ’15 recommends designing a research strategy sooner. According to Tim Kang, MBA ’15, his favorite part was meeting new people and getting new viewpoints. The competition was worthwhile because it’s difficult to get hands-on experience of this kind otherwise, he said. 

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