Marketing and Design Students Team Up in Real-World Campaign

By Katy Ward
November 8, 2013
KC Copters 2Maria Gall takes notes during Johnny Rowlands' presentation.

For MNU marketing and graphic design students, learning is all about real-life projects. This semester, students in promotion management and corporate identity are teaming up to create an integrated marketing campaign for real-life client, KC Copters.

KC Copters, a full-service helicopter company, offers flight training, tours, and aerial video/photography. The company, founded in April 2011 by Johnny Rowlands, chief pilot of local ABC affiliate KMBC TV 9’s NewsChopper 9, has enlisted the help of MNU students to create a marketing campaign.

“The job of the students is to determine who we are and what we represent,” Rowlands says.

The project began in early September when marketing Professor, Lisa Wallentine, and graphic design Professor, Brian Merriman, took their students to KC Copters at Executive Airport in Olathe, Kan. The students met with Rowlands, asked questions and learned about KC Copters at the meeting.

Describing the services offered by the company, from scenic tours and parties, to helicopter lessons, Rowlands said he wants the campaign to be based on the target market.

“It’s up to the students to figure out what direction the company should go,” he says. “After they figure out the direction, then the students need to efficiently utilize their resources to properly advertise that direction.”

At the end of the meeting, students were given an imaginary budget. Wallentine said that the budget would help in the planning stages and would also teach the students how to budget promotions in real life.

KC Copters Students

Marketing students are paired with a graphic design student to complete the project. Each group comes up with their own campaign.

“This project teaches the students what creating a marketing campaign is like. They learn how to work as a team and coordinate with their graphic design partner,” Wallentine explained.

Requirements for the projects include a 20-minute presentation, as well as a 10-page formal report. The report will include a situation analysis, description of the target market, communication objective, campaign positioning and theme, creative recommendations, a media/promotion plan, the budget, and measurement and evaluation. Before creating the campaign, each team will conduct research to aid in supporting the recommendations.

MNU senior, Brittany Grittman, expressed what the project will do for her.

“It allows you to work with an actual company and show you how to conduct yourself in the real world,” she says. “All the business classes that I have taken prior to promotion management have helped to prepare me for this project. I really like how integrated all the classes are with this project.”

Each team will present their campaign to both Wallentine and Merriman who will choose the top three teams. Then Rowlands will see the top three presentations and choose an overall winner.

“This project is really challenging,” says student Matt Varhola. “I like how this gives us real life experience and is something that we might actually see in the real world.”

KCcopter031Rowlands (middle) shows students NewsChopper 9.

KCcopter020Graphic design major, Jenni Harris, a senior from Carthage, Mo., listens as Rowlands discusses the project.