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Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Ever wonder how to hire marketers for free? Alloy Media + Marketing has the answer. They sponsor the Caples Student Campaign of the Year competition, which recruits U.S.

undergraduates to compete against each other and test their marketing skills in creating a campaign for a given brand. The grand prize is $5,000 and tickets to Caples Award, where they are honored for their creativity and problem-solving skills.

This year, the challenge for students is to “design a campaign for Pentel of America's Recycology pen line highlighting its eco-friendly aspects and inspiring college age students to learn more about the product.”. Hopefuls from around the nation are wrapping up their campaigns, as the January 16th due date is quickly approaching.

New York University students, Daniel McCoy and Erica Swallow, two contest entrants, are confident that their campaign, Spin the Pen, has a lot to offer. In approaching the prompt, they focused on originality and fun. The first question was, “What’s fun about these pens?” Instead of taking the obvious direction towards environmentally-friendliness, they took a new direction: pen spinning.

After a few Google searches, they figured out that pen spinning was an international hobby held by many. They logged onto YouTube and got connected with the pen spinning community and were recommended to two NYC pen spinners, Xero and JC, within a day. The following video commercials were produced:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZgfG2nsXyA&feature=channel_page
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X9EcrUmSrk&feature=channel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yabIcC938Vk&feature=channel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IchdyvEEeuk&feature=channel

The campaign features a YouTube channel, Facebook group, and Spin the Pen website.

So, what can marketing professionals learn from college students in this competition?
1.)
Reach out to highly-involved communities in concentrated areas.
Dan and Erica examined all possible audiences and picked the communities that would most welcome Pentel Recycology into their lifestyles. Of course, environmentalists were on that list. But pen spinners were at the top. Messages within this small, international community are highly viral. The community lives mostly online, as most of their competitions, tutorials, and events take place through video uploads and virtual meetings.
2.) Use social networks wisely.
Implementing interesting and useful campaigns on social networking sites can be tricking. In the case of the Spin the Pen, Dan and Erica decided to use Facebook and YouTube to pass around campaign information. They limited their efforts to these two sites, where their target audience had the largest presence. “The key to success,” says Erica. “is uploading lots of meaningful information and updating your page constantly.”
3.) Don’t over-use the environmentally-friendly card.
Although Pentel Recycology’s biggest attribute is that all products are made with a minimum of 50% recycled material by weight, messages that are purely environmentally-focused could be the next cliché. Many people interviewed on the NYU campus by Erica and Dan said that they were growing tired of the environmentalist gimmick. For Spin the Pen, taking a new direction was essential.

Keep a look out for more Pentel Recycology campaigns, as a group of college students near you may have been recruited to participate in the Caples Student Campaign of the Year contest.


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