WEB EXCLUSIVE: Class markets new Pontiac Aztek in Kogan Plaza

Professor Marilyn Liebrenz-Himes’ marketing class took over Kogan Plaza Thursday, offering students a peak at Pontiac’s new Aztek sport utility vehicle, in the culmination of semester-long marketing research project for the new all-purpose Pontiac Aztek car, the first SRV from Pontiac.

Barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, jousting, basketball and raffles for restaurant gift certificates, health spas and a new Playstation 2 game system attracted about 2,000 students to participate in the games and see the new Aztek. Students had to complete a survey about the Aztek to participate in the free activities.

Edventure Partners, a company that works to facilitate relations between college classes and the corporate world, helped organize the event to promote the Aztek.

The 47 members of the marketing class formed a “company” called Advertek and received $2,500 from General Motors for the campaign. Student leaders headed different teams to carry out the marketing campaign, which includes advertising and market research targeting people 18 to 24 years old.

Students in the class said the project helped them better understand marketing concepts.

“There are so many details that go into this whole project that I never thought about,” Deborah Posner said as she scooped ice cream for students.

The market research team surveyed two percent of GW’s campus to determine popular student gathering places, the best spots for advertising and which activities would draw students to an event.

“I think assignments like this allow students the opportunity to
demonstrate what they have learned,” said sophomore Sean Jamieson, who headed the group’s promotions team. “You can learn as much as you want in the classroom but if it’s never applied, then it is not worthwhile.”

Jamieson said he was impressed by the large crowd of people who lined up for free food and games in the warm spring weather.

“It raises campus spirit,” he said. “These are the kinds of things that make people want to be at GW.”

Help from a big corporation, General Motors, added another element to the project, students said.

“Working for a company everyone knows like GM motivates you to do your best,” said Justin Kieffer, leader of the advertising/media team.

Kari Mazanec, who worked as an agency coordinator corresponding with GM officials, said the project required a lot more work than she imagined.

Event organizers said they were impressed with the class.

Liebrenz-Himes said she is proud of her students.

“This is the reason I like to do this with a class,” she said. “They find out how (a marketing project) is actually done. They have all worked so hard and just to see it all come together is a happy satisfying occasion.”

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