University of Southern California

Marshall Students Get In Gear with Subaru Marketing Project
April 23, 2007 • by LeRoy Hudson

Your assignment, Mr. and Ms. Phelps, is three fold: Put together a team of near-perfect strangers, create an awareness campaign for a major automaker for less than $3,000, and oh, by the way, do it in a matter of weeks. It's not quite Mission: Impossible, but it's no small task either.

Subaru of America and the Marketing 406 class of the USC Marshall School of Business have joined forces for the second year in a row to give students a real-world experience in marketing a product. Four weeks into the class, 38 students became an advertising agency complete with organization charts and regular group meetings.

"It's the closest thing you can get to executing a real-world campaign in an academic setting," says Therese Wilbur, Assistant Professor of clinical marketing. "It's a real hands-on learning experience."

The learning experience begins with regular meetings with Subaru and hard, fast-approaching deadlines to meet. Serena Yue, a Marshall student and the project's account coordinator, says she can see definite future professional benefits to the project.

"I learned a lot from being a leader," Yue said. "Just working with people and keeping everyone on track, making sure everything gets done."

This year's campaign was called "Beyond the Road." As with the 2006 project, the goal was to increase campus awareness of Subaru's Impreza line of cars.

"This program provides an excellent opportunity for Subaru to connect to the college market and demographics," said Jill Garofano, Subaru's regional marketing specialist. There are other benefits as well for Subaru: "It also provides an influx of new and fresh ideas, and the company gets some really good interns."

Besides practicing their advertising and marketing skills, the students learned other valuable lessons.

"It's a challenge managing other people,” said Art Johnson, another Marshall account coordinator. "Everybody’s different. You have to make sure they understand what’s needed and then being able to translate that to each individual."

The national finalists for the marketing competition will be announced later this spring. For more information, visit the students' Web site at

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.