LA VERNE - A team of three University of La Verne students is in the running to win Honda's CR-Z Media Challenge and earn the students coveted internships with the company and a chance to take part in a new product national rollout in April 2011.
Seniors Melly Ramirez of La Puente, Stefanie Schmidt, a Silverton, Ore. native and Mark Wilson, a Santa Rosa native, submitted a proposal titled "Join the CRaZe" to meet Honda's challenge to design and execute an integrated six-week public relations campaign for the Honda CR-Z, a 2011 sport-hybrid coupe.
The proposed campaign is focused on creating a buzz for the vehicle using social media and hosting events meant to show off the car's fun side, according to Schmidt. The proposal was selected by Honda on Oct. 8 as one of 10 finalists in the nationwide challenge.
"We wanted to go outside the scope of the requirements," Schmidt said. "We knew there were different aspects we could emphasize that other hybrids do not have."
According to Ramirez, the initial requirements only specified the group use the hybrid in one public event, but the team decided it would showcase it in as many events as possible.
"We originally planned to do four events, but we realized we could do a lot more to generate buzz by doing more events," she added.
The proposal was originally part of an assignment in Professor Constance Rossum's integrated marketing communications class, who noted that the students
showed with this project that they are ready for a job in marketing.
"They have demonstrated clearly that they know how to listen to a client and come back with a successful project," Rossum said in a statement.
As a top ten finalist, the team was given use of a Honda CR-Z until Nov. 22 to help implement the proposal. The team has until Dec. 1 to submit a powerpoint presentation of the progress it has made.
Three teams will then be selected to make final presentations Dec. 14 at American Honda's corporate headquarters in Torrance. Members of all three finalist teams will spend the Spring 2011 semester as Virtual Interns, participating in a series of public relations activities. The first place team will be invited to attend an April 2011 major product launch event in a major metropolitan city.
"To get the internship would be awesome," Wilson said. "It's nice to see hard work pay off with results."
But it hasn't been all work, Ramirez noted.
"It has been a lot of work and we have learned a great deal, but it has been so much fun," she said.
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