Innovating the Wheel
This essay is the sixth in the series Drexel students write about Drexel innovations
Innovating the Wheel: LeBow College of Business students want you to fall in love with a Subaru
by Robyn Weaver and MC Sokolowski
“Warning, purchase of the Subaru Impreza may cause butterflies in stomach, persistent
smile, impulsive off-roading, spontaneous road trips, or other common symptoms of car
infatuation” headlines the creative group of Lebow College of Business students on their ad campaign Facebook page. In the fall of 2007 Ashley Keen, Maria Papadakis, Jake Roberson, and David Dempsey of Drexel’s Lebow College of Business formed a class unlike any other in the school’s history. These pioneering students competed in Subaru’s Project Acceleration: The Subaru Impreza Collegiate Challenge. Twelve schools from across the country were selected to create advertising campaigns and the schools; the top three campaigns presented their work to executives at the Subaru of America headquarters in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (Project). The students were given a $3,000 budget to fund their campaign. Inspired by Subaru’s logo which has an oval exterior with six stars within, these Drexel students created Six Star Associates Consulting.
After administering surveys, generating focus groups, and conducting research analysis of the Subaru brand, the Drexel students devised a campaign entitled “Fall in Love with a Subaru” (Marketing). They carried out their marketing concept via the Internet, public relations, events, print ads, and commercial videos.
The students filmed commercials starring well-known Drexel alumni and featuring iconic places in Philadelphia such as the LOVE Park in Center City. In order to reach a younger audience, humor was employed in their commercials. These videos went on YouTube and went viral. Using the information from the focus groups, it was learned the most visited websites were MySpace.com and FaceBook.com therefore, they would be the most effective in reaching a young demographic. The team also created print ads to circulate around the Philadelphia area and its college campuses. The most humorous of the bunch was a personal ad taken out by a Subaru looking for a loving owner.
Professor Dana D’Angelo, who supervised the project, said, "When their print ads hit Internet and news outlets, I received calls from people asking if those were Subaru’s new campaign ads, and even dealerships asked to be involved" (Marketing).
Maria Papadakis, head of advertising for Six Star Associates, spoke exuberantly about her accomplishments through the Fall in love with your Subaru campaign: “The buzz we created was surreal, I never imagined our Internet groups would get people talking from places as far as South Africa and Egypt! It was neat to see how easy and cost-effective the Internet could be as a marketing tool with the use of a great product and fun marketing tactics. People loved the humor and heart in our commercials!” (Marketing).
The Drexel students did not take home the top prize, but what they earned was much more valuable. On April 24, 2008 Subaru launched a new ad campaign entitled Fall in Love with Your Subaru (Drexel U). Subaru’s campaign was created by world-renowned brand-builder Carmichael Lynch with a budget of $200 million (Drexel Students). Never in their wildest dreams did these business students expect to see their idea as a national advertising campaign seen by millions of people. The gratification felt by the students was surreal.
Merriam Webster defines "innovation" as the introduction of something new, a new idea, method, or device. This is a defining characteristic of Drexel students. A group of four business students were able to launch a new idea in Philadelphia with a small budget that was transformed into a multi-million dollar advertising campaign that spread across the nation. This is a true paradigm of that characteristic and the school they represent. Innovation has always driven this country and these students shown us that innovation will country to drive the country into the future. The road that the world is currently driving on is no longer enough space for the students at Drexel to explore and the Subaru campaign is further proof of the willingness to go off-roading to accomplish any goal.
"Drexel Students’ Concept for Subaru Impreza Collegiate Challenge Reinforced in Carmaker’s Campaign." Drexel University, 5 May 2008. Web. 10 Mar. 2011. <http://www.drexel.edu/news/headlines/drexel-students’-concept-for-subaru-impreza-collegiate-challenge-reinforced-in-carmaker’s-campaign.aspx>.
“Drexel University Final Presentation to Subaru for Project Acceleration.” April 29 2008. YouTube. 12 March 2011.
"Marketing Students Create International Buzz with Ad Campaign." Drexelink. Drexel University, 6 June 2008. Web. 3 Mar. 2011. <http://www.drexel.edu/univrel/drexelink/story.asp?ID=2605&vol=14&num=6>.
"Project Acceleration: The Subaru Impreza Collegiate Challenge." Drive. Subaru, Fall 2006. Web. 10 Mar. 2011. <http://www.drive.subaru.com/fall06_project.htm>.
Van Allen, Peter. "Drexel Students Drive a Subaru Campaign Theme for $3,000 | Philadelphia Business Journal." Philadelphia Business Journal. American City Business Journals, 19 May 2008. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. <http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/2008/05/19/newscolumn3.html>.