A team of University of Georgia marketing students is heading to California after winning Terry College’s 2022 Digital Marketing Case Competition.
The students presented a plan to market Kwikset Halo smart door locks to brand representatives during the final round on March 25.
The winning campaign linked the 65-year-old company’s smart locks to its long reputation for safety and reliability. The team called its campaign — which features reinvented versions of Kwikset’s midcentury ads with the new smart locks — a “retro brand.”
“Nostalgia provides comfort and security, which are also important when you are marketing a lock company,” team member Jackie Nemanich told the judges. “People want a brand they can trust when they are investing in an aspect of the Internet of Things. With constant innovation in the digital space, people will find comfort and safety in the retro brand — especially in uncertain times. I think these would qualify as uncertain times.”
The competition, organized by senior marketing lecturer Jen Osbon, has served as a capstone experience for students pursuing Terry’s Digital Marketing Area of Emphasis since 2014 but is open to all students. About a dozen teams started the process of developing a digital marketing campaign for the client company in February.
By the day of the final pitches, only six teams remained. Nemanich and the other members of the Business Bulldogs — Lexi Graff, Amanda Stefani, Lauren Barton and Attie Ridley — travel to California with Osbon in April to meet digital marketing leaders from Kwikset and other consumer brands.
Kwikset senior brand manager Erik Glassen told the teams he was amazed by the amount of work they put into their presentations. He could tell they knew the brand, he said.
“I’m impressed with everybody,” Glassen said. “The presentations just blew all of us away. What you guys did in six weeks, agencies that do this for a living would have taken three months to prepare.
“It’s not lost on us how much work went into this — how much energy, effort and blood, sweat and tears went into these presentations. It showed in the research; it showed in the insights and the creative ideas.”
Judges chose the Business Bulldogs because the flow of its presentation — from research to insights, from planning for each channel to creative assets — was the most cohesive and thorough.
Each finals team was mentored by an industry coach who helped hone ideas and professionalize presentations. The Business Bulldogs’ coaches were Terry alum and SFB IDEAS president Russell Harrell and Atlanta-based digital strategist Brian Rudolph.
The competition has attracted its share of big-name clients over the years, but Kwikset was the first time students worked with an out-of-state company, Osbon said. Kwikset, part of Spectrum Brands, is based in California.