FIU marketing students competing in national Acura ILX Marketing Challenge.

‘Be Seen’ at Marketing Students’ Event for Acura ILX Campaign.

Be Seen with the 2019 Acura ILXBe Seen.

That’s the slogan conceived by a team of FIU students who created a marketing campaign for Acura’s remodeled 2019 ILX. They worked hard to draw students to “be seen” at their big event promoting the remodeled car on April 9 at GC Lawns from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We think of it as a big party,” said project manager Yan Miellier, a marketing and finance major. With the car parked as a centerpiece, the lawn was transformed into a party space blanketed with the team’s promotional campaign material. A DJ and free food  set the mood, and interactive competitions with prizes wilkept everyone entertained.

Miellier leads a team of FIU students who are members of the on-campus chapter of American Marketing Association (AMA@FIU) and its in-house student-run marketing agency Roaring Concepts. They are competing against 19 other schools in the Acura ILX Marketing Challenge for the chance to present their marketing campaign to Acura executives in California. The collaboration developed, in part, because of Edventure Partners’ relationship with University Instructor Tim Birrittella, whose students have been doing projects for them since 2012. Acura was looking for schools to participate, and FIU was the only Florida school selected.

The AMA Acura team
The AMA Acura team

“Students use a real operational budget to achieve real results, and they get to see the target audience interact with their unique campaign,” said Brandi Glover, project specialist at Edventure Partners, an organization dedicated to developing industry-education partnership programs through experiential learning opportunities.

Going all-in to promote the ILX led the students to plan and execute a multi-tiered campaign. Armed with a $2,000 campaign budget, the students first came up with their slogan. “We wanted something very simple that people could remember,” said marketing major Keurin Giron, who serves as the campaign’s social media coordinator. “You want to be seen driving that cool car, that bright-colored car. The Acura ILX is the perfect image of being seen.”

The Acura ILX and the AMA team

To raise awareness for the main event, the team held two tabling events on campus where they lured passers-by with pizza and soda, handing out flyers, car brochures and branded giveaways while encouraging them to post and hashtag. There’s also a social media follow-up to the main event: students who post will earn additional prizes, and the team will collect email addresses for further engagement.

Promoting the Acura challenge
Promoting the Acura challenge

Along the way, the students have learned that things don’t always go as planned. When they woke up to rain the day they’d arranged to take photos at the Acura dealership, they had to reschedule and work around the resulting delay in securing content for the campaign. “Time has been our biggest enemy,” Miellier said. “We aren’t able to execute everything we have in mind, and when things come up, we have to make adjustments on the spot. It’s been a great learning experience.”

Giron has a new appreciation for responsibility. “I learned I have to post on social media every single day,” she said. “I’ve learned how to be professional about it and actually get it done every day.”

The competition runs through the end of the month, with post-event surveys and a PowerPoint presentation submission to follow the big event. “Since the moment we started, we wanted to win!” Miellier said. “The hard work we put in already resulted in an incredible experience for all of us, but we also hope to win and go to California to present there.”

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