By Kara Sherrer
Over fall break, Master of Marketing students and MBA candidates with an interest in marketing and/or brand management participate in BrandWeek, a three-day series of marketing challenges issued by clients. Teams are given a challenge and have anywhere between a few hours or days to come up with a plan and presentation for their client. A recap of Tuesday afternoon’s challenge follows.
The Client: IMG College (a division of IMG) is the nation’s leading collegiate sports marketing company, helping brands to reach 190 million college sports fans across various markets around the U.S. One of IMG Sports’ Nashville clients is KFC, which seeks to reach fans at Vanderbilt games through scoreboard advertisements, coupons, food specials, and more.
The Project: Jeff Haynie, Senior Account Executive at IMG College, and Amanda Lockwood (BA’16), Partner Services Coordinator, presented the challenge on behalf of KFC. KFC has decided to bring a food truck to Nashville, and Haynie and Lockwood asked BrandWeek participants to consider marketing the truck from two different angles. First, they wanted to know how IMG could use the truck to promote KFC at Vanderbilt athletic events. Second, they told teams to brainstorm ways the food truck could be used to enhance KFC’s business in Nashville more generally.
The Presentations: To connect with Vanderbilt fans on gameday, teams recommended offering a streamlined menu of classic KFC favorites — plus a Nashville hot chicken option — and prioritizing meals such as the $5 Fill Up that can compete with stadium concessions on price and taste. Several groups also recommended selling merchandise at the truck with both Vanderbilt and KFC logos on the products to help draw in tailgaters.
As for reaching the larger Nashville community, teams recommended parking the truck near events such as festivals as well as pedestrian-heavy areas like Midtown. They also utilized social media to advertise the truck’s location and menu, including Snapchat geofilters and special hashtags.
The Winner: While the decision was close, Haynie and Lockwood deemed Team #4 the winner for their comprehensive, creative plan. Team #4 recommended a brand ambassador program for Vanderbilt students to help spread the word about the food truck. They proposed displaying sauces “on tap” outside the truck to attract tailgaters during gameday.
The team also suggested painting a chicken wings mural on the side of the truck for patrons to take photos in front of, an idea that riffed on the popular black-and-white WhatLiftsYou wings mural in The Gulch. “We loved the idea of the photo mural. We thought that was hilarious,” Lockwood said.
She also praised the team for their recommendation to sell branded merchandise, such as cups, at the food truck. “The branded tumblers that you guys had — that’s one of the most successful things we do for clients…it becomes a walking billboard for the rest of the time (they carry) that cup,” she said.