Creative Inquiry

Project Spotlights

Kicking Normal to the Curb and Bringing Home a Gold

Four Clemson University students took first place in a national marketing competition. The Creative Inquiry team topped students from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas/Arlington to win the Chevrolet Sonic Marketing Challenge in Detroit. The teams from the three schools were the finalists out of 52 schools that participated in the competition, which was sponsored by Chevrolet and edVenture Partners.

The team members are Jessica Byrd, a senior graphics communications major from Fort Mill; Evan Duggar, a senior in marketing from Simpsonville; Paul Hargrave, a senior in marketing from Charleston; and Blair Bolen, a junior marketing major from Fredericksburg, Va.

They are led by James Gaubert, a senior lecturer whose Marketing 398 class worked in groups to come up with entries for the challenge and voted for the winning team's project.

Their entry, titled "Chevrolet Sonic: Kick Normal to the Curb," was built around a program to build awareness of the vehicle among Clemson University students. It included plans for a kickoff event on Bowman field; targeted marketing plans, including social media and guerilla marketing strategies; and research into students' perceptions of the vehicle.

"I applaud the four students whose entry won the competition," Gaubert said. "They represented Clemson well in Detroit. I believe hard work and professionalism throughout the semester resulted in the victory."

"It is a testament to the synergistic results that can emerge from Clemson's Creative Inquiry groups that tap into students' skill sets from different majors and strengths,"he said.

"I still have to pinch myself that we actually won," Duggar said. "If I had the chance, I would do it again. That's saying a lot because we spent a lot of late nights together working on this case, but it was worth every second."

Byrd said, "We had an amazing group that put in over 110 percent to this campaign and I think we did an amazing job. I would definitely recommend to any student interested in this field to get involved-nothing is better than real-world experience."

"The thought of securing a win for Clemson University and the marketing team was our drive as we made every effort to put together a polished presentation," Hargrave said. "The presentation was the product of countless hours of brainstorming, design, and rehearsal, driven by the marketing and graphics coursework taken during our time at the university."

Bolen's participation "was especially exciting for me since my great grandfather opened a Chevrolet dealership which is still owned and operated by our family today, over 91 years later".

"Our team did a great job working together to come up with a interesting and innovative plan specifically designed to reach Millennials," he said. "I am very pleased that the executives at Chevrolet thought so highly of this project which we poured so much time and effort into."

By: John Gouch (Decipher Issue 1, Fall 2012)