'The Pitch' at USC Marshall

Undergraduate Marshall Marketing Courses Provide Real World Experience

June 12, 2012

Marshall undergraduates who took MKT 406: Practicum in Advertising and Promotion Design this past semester became a full-fledged advertising team--they were knee-deep in developing a real campaign.

Therese Wilbur, a Marshall assistant professor of clinical marketing, has structured MKT 406 as an in-house, student-run agency, bringing her experience as Mattel’s senior marketing director of international marketing for the Girls/Barbie division, as well as working for companies such as Prudential, to scaffold student-learning in this hands-on curriculum.

MKT 406 is offered as two sections that immerse students in the role of a marketing executive--developing and executing a marketing campaign for real world clients. On the MKT 406 syllabus, Wilbur defines the course’s appeal: "It’s a marketing internship within the context of a class. It should be added to your resume."

MKT 406 is an authentic opportunity for students to develop a campaign and understand the competitive landscape of the advertising world. Once the campaigns are developed, they are subject to scrutiny by in-house marketing executives and agency partners or by judges in the annual American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition (a competition against their peers at other universities). Winning campaigns are often adopted and implemented by the client.

Last year, USC Marshall undergraduate students won the Chevrolet Campus Promotion Competition against 20 schools; the students’ winning 2008 campaign for FBI recruitment was posted on billboards across Los Angeles.

In the Spring 2012 semester, students in one MKT 406 class initially conducted market research, and then tested, pitched and launched an integrated campaign for the Honda Civic Coupe. The campaign included print ads, video and viral marketing, as well as event and experiential marketing at USC’s Springfest. The students also supported the campaign with public relations efforts including a social media campaign and a dedicated campaign website. For this year Honda campaign, Marshall undergraduates came in second place against 20 competing schools and took home $5,000.

While MKT 406 focuses on integrated marketing communications, the second class Wilbur teaches is focused on product development. MKT446: New Product Development and Branding is an interdisciplinary class that has been taught for the last four years with faculty from with the Roski School of Fine Arts (Ann Page and Tom Schorer) and the Viterbi School of Engineering (Allan Weber). The students from all three schools must work together to develop a product for a specific brand from concept to 2D and 3D prototype, create a product logo and develop a website to launch the product and highlight product attributes.