Wayne State School of Business advertising class wins Navy SEALs award for marketing campaign

The Navy SEALs awarded an advertising media planning class at Wayne State University’s School of Business Administration with its  2011 Scouting Project Scholastic Achievement Award.

Five students—Sara Grout, Angela Selph, Mark Stewart, Rodney Jennings and Joshua Wilde— traveled to San Diego, Calif., Wednesday to present their winning marketing campaign to the SEALs.

The SEALs said WSU’s team clearly stood apart from their competition.

“Their enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, creativity, and perseverance resulted in a successful campaign to spread awareness of the Navy SEALs as a solid career choice for African-American young men,” said Scott Williams, a SEALs public relations specialist. “They achieved all three objectives of the campaign, including increasing awareness and consideration of the SEALs, and setting us up with influential points of contact for further relationship development.”

They were challenged to create a niche campaign to attract the attention of young African-American men.

“The Navy SEALs were probably the toughest and most demanding client as far as timelines and what needed to be done,” said James Cleary, adjunct professor of marketing at WSU. “Like the SEALs, you have to persist. You have to keep pushing. These students did just that.”

WSU was among five universities hand-picked by the SEALs to compete because of their diverse student bodies.

“They are trying to find out why there is such a disconnect in the diversity of the Navy SEALs,” said Stewart, a marketing major in Wayne State’s business school.

The team was allotted $3,000 to create a campaign.

Angela Selph, a double major in marketing and accounting, managed the team’s budget. “This experience will help out tremendously in pursuing my future career in marketing and accounting,” said Selph. “I really like accounting and I love working with numbers so my role definitely gave me experience in keeping a balanced budget and making sure we don’t overspend.”

Stewart said the team spent many late nights filled with conference calls and texting among group members.

“Our goals included increasing the awareness by 30 percent among athletic African American males ages 17-24, increasing the consideration of the Navy SEALs as a career choice, and increasing the knowledge within the community about the Navy SEALs,” he said.

The group pushed for their goals by hosting a Navy SEALs event at the WSU football game against Findlay University in mid-November. SEALs officers were on hand to educate others about the SEALs and to test people’s physical ability with a fitness challenge.

Conducting a focus group also helped the group achieve their target goals.

“I distributed the pre-campaign and post-campaign surveys to get a barometer about how the people felt about a career with the Navy SEALs,” said Wilde, a marketing major.

“I also conducted a focus group where we brought in 10 kids and asked them a series of questions to try and find out where they are most likely to be found, and what kind of approach we should take with the campaign, whether it is an aggressive or a more low-key approach.”

Along with travel expenses to San Diego for their campaign presentation, WSU’s team will receive $1,500.

Check out the team's Facebook page here. See the team's presentation video below.


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