Predator Protector. Lincoln Legos. Pearl Protector. Colgate Roller. These brand-new products are about to hit the market before the holidays and make record sales. Or, at least that’s how it seemed after watching Greg Wagner’s students pitch ad campaigns during their final presentations Nov. 15 and 20.
Wagner, teaching associate professor of marketing, has taught “Introduction to Advertising” at Daniels for 10 years. This year, he wanted to challenge his students to promote a product that isn’t already in the marketplace. He teamed up with Heather Tobin, an instructional designer in the Office of Teaching and Learning, and Michael Caston, associate professor of the practice in Innovation, Product Design and Development and executive director of the Innovation Floor at the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science.
“I study how technology can help and improve learning outcomes in the classroom,” Tobin said. “I wondered if using DU’s new 3D printer could be a way for the students to physically create their products in addition to marketing them.”
Wagner loved the idea and the student teams were able to use the Ritchie School’s Innovation Lab to make a self-defense keychain, a toy that combines Lincoln Logs and Legos, and a toothbrush holder.
“I had never 3D printed anything before, so I thought it was very cool to work in the new engineering building and pick up a few new skills along the way,” said Kendall Towne, a senior marketing major. Towne’s team promoted the Predator Protector, a self-defense keychain.
“My biggest takeaway was that you can have multiple creative ideas, but they all need to fit together and with the big idea, in order to make a powerful and cohesive campaign,” she said. Towne interned at an ad agency and was given similar projects at the agency.
Wagner normally has his students work with a prominent company like McDonald’s or REI, but he felt this would be an extra challenge for his students.
“These products are brand new and didn’t exist. So, it stretches their creative marketing skills,” he said. “They can’t steal any ideas or campaigns from products that are already in the market.”
The partnership with Wagner and Tobin seemed to pay off. The students enjoyed promoting products that don’t currently exist.
“I loved this project. It was fun getting to use your creativity with no bounds attached to it,” said Shewit Mikael, a senior majoring in communication and psychology, who was on the Pearl Protector team. “My largest takeaway from this project is that passion is required if you want incredible results. This project helped me conceptualize abstract ideas into tangible results by using Photoshop, the 3D printer and Movie Maker. This will be particularly useful in a future career as I would like to go into marketing after college.”