Ideas produced by the 35 students who participated in the Eric Rob & Isaac Brand Camp at the University of Central Arkansas this week might soon become reality.
The camp started on Monday. In its fourth year at UCA, groups were asked to come up with commercials and marketing campaigns around a client, the Arkansas Travelers.
Students experienced what it was like to develop a concept from start to finish, working with the agency’s copywriters and designers as well as local company Kangabloo Creative to build a commercial, taking on in three days what the advertising firm does all the time.
Each pitched their idea to three judges – UCA President Houston Davis, the Conductor’s Master Maker Jason Huselton and Rusty Meeks, assistant general manager for the Little Rock-based baseball team – in front of their peers, their friends, family and others during a presentation on Thursday in the UCA College of Business.
After, each group received an award as well for a different area of the project they showcased best in.
The Log Cabin Democrat had the opportunity to talk with Rob Bell and Rusty Meeks about how the partnership came about.
“Every year we really try to focus on a treasured, Arkansas brand,” Bell said, adding that’s their mission and their goal behind the company. “We love focusing on companies that have just done well in Arkansas and beyond.”
He said they already had a relationship with the minor league team so when the group started thinking about this year’s client, it was unanimous. So, he reached out to Meeks, who was immediately on board.
Bell said the Arkansas Travelers do many promotions throughout the year, this was right in their wheelhouse as far as targeted audience.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to really hear what the people want,” he said.
Meeks agreed with Bell. He said when he came to him with the idea, it was a “no brainer,” coming up with new ideas what his team does on a daily basis. With this age group – middle-school students – there’s not a hindrance or filter when it comes to ideas.
“Their ideas are all over the place,” he said.
Meeks was interested throughout the presentations, eager to ask the groups follow-up questions.
“There’s something we can literally take from every one of those,” he said, excitedly. “There were a couple of those ideas that I’ll actually probably take back to our team and see if we can use. That’s what it’s all about.”
Which ideas exactly, the LCD asked.
Meeks said one team came up with an idea for a balloon-pop type event during the on-field games.
“When we’re doing the on-field games, the goal’s not just to get them involved but to get everyone involved in it and that’s something that would create excitement,” he said.
Another, he added, was the group that added the cause to the mix, coming up with a way to donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
“That was amazing,” Bell said, noting cause promoting wasn’t there, the group coming up with that on their own. “I love when those lightbulbs go off.”
Meeks said an additional idea incorporated retro-type jerseys and merchandise, which is a great one, especially when it comes to revenue.
“That was really big, that definitely stuck out,” he said, grinning. “We’ll definitely be talking about that in the off season.”
The assistant general manager seemed truly motivated, taking a lot from the day.
Being able to see such success from the week, Bell said, was a lot of fun and “neat” to see it all come together.
“It takes a cast of thousands to pull it off,” he said. “We’re not really equipped to deal with middle school kids but we do think that’s the sweet spot, we want to plant the seed that young.”
Bell said the week is also beneficial to his employees as well.
“It gets us inspired,” he said. “We believe this is the future Arkansas brand builders right here.”
Brand camp participants, their group name and the award the won are as follows:
Best Media Pitch- Smart Fish:Alyssa Winner Makyla Hillis Greer Lenderman Guy Cochran Fisher Kravitz
Best Powerpoint Presentation - The Agency:Sydney Madsen Mathis Polk Parker Armstrong Alivia Cox
Best Jumbotron Video - Raging Rapids:Alexis Cox Rebekah Faulkner Hunter Moss Gabe Duvall
Best Product Design - Star Marketing:Will Schlientz Caimbre Hess Siah McClurkin Max Owen
Best On Field Experience - Super Pop:Henderson Ealy Fisher Strandridge Kylie Watson Amaya Warren
Best Point-Of-Sale Poster - Awesome Opossum:Callie Roth Cameron Foshee Addison Roth Jeremiah Carey Kennedi Gunnells