Have you ever been excited for an 8 a.m. class?
Coffee, cold showers and foregoing favorite morning television programs were worthy sacrifices for the 63 students in last semester's Marketing 425 class, which met 8-9:15 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The University of Arizona class was one of 20 across the nation chosen to create an advertising campaign for Honda as part of the company's 2012 Honda Civic Coupe marketing competition.
UA students in the Eller College of Management chose the name "Studio 134" for their in-class agency, a reference to their classroom number along with an homage to the professional setting in which they coalesce.
In conjunction with California-based marketing education consultancy EdVenture Partners, the students worked since January to compile an all-encompassing campaign utilizing social media and events on campus to spread their message.
Janea Laudick said it is the first time that many of the students were given real-world advertising experience.
"For me, it's really not about the grade as much as the experiences that I am gaining," said Laudick, a UA marketing senior in the Honors College.
"The process has been very collaborative, and everyone's had an opportunity to share their input," said Laudick, also director of the public relations group.
The class was separated into six different branches of an advertising agency: marketing research, publications and reports, public relations, advertising, strategy and operations, and also finance.
But how do you market a product that appeals to students who are now making decisions that will impact the rest of their lives?
The UA team created the slogan, "Where will you be tomorrow?," specifically focusing on the purchase considerations of college students.
"We want this theme to resonate with students. Our goal was to improve the image of Honda as a ‘cool' brand," Laudick said.
Members of Studio 134 recently presented their work to representatives from Honda, EdVenture Partners and advertising agency Rubin Postaer and Associates, better known as RPA.
After viewing presentations from each of the 20 institutions, representatives will decide on the top three groups, which then will be invited to Torrance, Calif. to present in front of top Honda executives. A decision is expected during the summer.
UA marketing senior Julian Allen served as agency director for the group, a role in which he oversaw operations involving the entire group.
Allen credited both the professional environment of the class and his peers as reasons why the course was important and beneficial for him.
"Working in a real-world environment with deadlines, a budget, and real results is invaluable," Allen said. "I've enjoyed the hands-on experience the most. Managing a great group of smart individuals has been a real treat."
For the class, the support and guidance of Ed Ackerley makes the entire process more gratifying.
"Professor Ackerley pushes us to improve. It's great to have his support, I think that is what makes us so successful," Laudick said, adding that his "fun, storytelling personality" creates a welcoming atmosphere.
Ackerley, an adjunct faculty member who teaches marketing, refers to his method of teaching as "edutainment," ensuring a balance between traditional academic instruction and experiential learning.
His intention is to "engage the students to allow them to put into practice their years of classroom learning and to apply their intellectual understanding of material to a real-life situation with real clients, real deadlines and real budgets."
With all of the possibilities looming, Ackerley reflected on the importance of seeing his students develop in such a professional manner.
"It is a very rewarding way to send students into their careers," said Ackerley, who has taught this specific course for six years. "Their growth and development in most cases is monumental."