For a team of marketing students at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, victory tastes a lot like a Mediterranean dish.

The WVU team won the second annual Taziki’s Marketing Challenge – a competition that required 32 collegiate teams to come up with strategic and comprehensive marketing campaign for Taziki’s.

WVU won a $5,000 first place prize on Nov. 15 from the Birmingham-based Taziki’s Mediterranean Caf� competition, which featured teams from major universities in the east and southeast regions of the United States. The restaurant chain has two locations in Morgantown and a total of 32 locations in nine states.

From the 32 entries, the field was narrowed to five finalist teams, including Clemson University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and two teams from last year’s reigning champion, Samford University. The WVU team’s comprehensive campaign presentation featured extensive research, original music and fully produced advertising.

“I think that WVU’s professionalism, creativity, research orientation and total solution really differentiated their plan,” said Dr. Michael Walsh, B&E Associate Professor of Marketing and the WVU team’s adviser. “Not only have the students gained invaluable experience, but I think WVU gained from such talented ambassadors.”

WVU’s team includes four seniors and one junior, all marketing majors at B&E: seniors Lizzy Howells, Dave Haak, Ryan Gushue and Corey Zinn; and junior Danielle Ferreira.

Team members produced a TV commercial, composed and recorded the original music for the ads, developed radio and print ads based on the Mediterranean and Greek theme, and collaborated with students from the WVU College of Creative Arts and Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism to complete the Taziki’s campaign. The team was adamant that they could not have won without the collaboration with other colleges on campus.

“I thought the whole thing was really cool,” Zinn said. “The first thing I noticed was that the group just worked so well together. There was no person in the group who ever felt unnecessary. It’s common throughout college group projects to find yourself in a group where some people don’t contribute. This was all hands on deck.”

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock was also announced as a winner, earning an identical score as the WVU team. As a result, both teams were awarded first prize money.

“Sometimes in internships they make you do just entry-level stuff,” Howells said, “but we really went in there and researched and produced it ourselves from start to finish.”

She added, “It made us really feel good. We were all beaming afterwards; we were on cloud nine. It’s different than a teacher giving you an A for nice work. An actual business wants to use your materials. Somebody thinks that’s an awesome idea.”



CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics

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