Morning Coffee May 04 2012

M.B.A. Students Lead Marketing Campaigns

By Saabira Chaudhuri

Companies like Dr Pepper Snapple Group are placing entire brands in the hands of M.B.A. students, aiming to develop long-lasting partnerships with schools instead of one-off advisory relationships. It's also an easy way to capitalize on the low costs of using students, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Two M.B.A. students from the University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business are handling the Dr Pepper Snapple's marketing campaign for Yoo-hoo, the chocolate drink maker's first major marketing push in four years.

The pair work almost as many hours as one full-time employee would, and report directly to the brand's chief marketing officer and other senior executives. When they graduate, other students will step in to take their place. The students are not paid, although Dr Pepper Snapple covers operating expenses and travel costs, and reportedly expects to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the students' research efforts.

Dr Pepper Snapple's approach is rare. However, Westinghouse Electric has also used students in various projects over the past six years, emphasizing the low costs as a major advantage. Student assignments in the past include assessments of acquisition strategy in China and an alliance opportunity in India.

Schools are promoting the projects as resume boosters that also provide hands-on learning experience, while students appear to be embracing the chance to develop a competitive edge, given the tight job market.

Sales Buzz

Apparel Swaps Could Present Retail Challenge (Bloomberg)

Americans aged 18-34, commonly called Millennials, are clothes swapping rather than buying new apparel. A survey by WSL Strategic Retail shows 80% of Millennial respondents think getting the lowest price on most things they buy is key, up from 69% two years earlier.

Limited Brands Announces Executive Changes (Yahoo Finance)

Limited Brands, whose products are sold through retailers like Victoria's Secret, Pink and Bath & Body Works, has appointed Charlie McGuigan as its chief operating officer. He's chief executive of Mast Global, the company's sourcing and production arm.

China's Weetabix Stake (Bloomberg)

China's second-largest food company, Bright Food Group, will buy a 60% stake in British cereal maker Weetabix from a private-equity firm in an attempt to increase overseas sales. The deal values Weetabix at about $1.9 billion (1.2 billion pounds).

Target Opens LA CityTarget Store (Retail Facility Business)

Target will open a 99,000-square-foot CityTarget store at the Beverly Connection in Los Angeles in March of next year. The Beverly Connection location is the third CityTarget store planned for Los Angeles, making it the largest CityTarget market in the country.

Marketing Buzz

Best Buy CMO Steps Down (Chain Store Age)

Best Buy Chief Marketing Officer Barry Judge has resigned. His resignation comes shortly after Chief Executive Brian Dunn stepped down last month. Judge will be succeeded by former Starbucks executive, Stephen Gillett.

BofA Drops BBDO (Ad Age)

Bank of America has shifted its brand advertising from Omnicom Group's BBDO to a WPP team. BofA, which is the 17th-largest marketer in the country with $1.55 billion in ad spending, will likely drop its current "Bank of Opportunity" slogan, which was developed by BBDO.

Tesco Appoints Mobile Marketing Head (Marketing Week)

Tesco appointed former O2 marketer Mark Cody to lead its mobile marketing charge as the U.K. supermarket giant looks to personalize marketing efforts on this platform. Tesco seeks to make its marketing "better, clearer and more relevant" in response to disappointing sales.

SMS Marketing Shows Signs of Life (AdWeek)

While only 4% of consumers surveyed by Harris Interactive say they currently receive marketing messages, 33% of those surveyed who don't receive marketing texts said they'd be somewhat interested in receiving them. That's up five percentage points since December 2010.

Changing Consumer Behavior (Marketing Week)

Marketers can change consumer behavior by using heuristics, offering direct instruction with something simple to do or finding the right triggers for behavior change--thoughts offered by senior leaders at Ogilvy & Mather, Marks & Spencer and Unilever.

Buzz Around the Office

Lion Thinks Baby is a Zebra (YouTube)

A kid in a striped hoodie is filmed playing, oblivious to the lion behind that's trying to chomp on him.

List of the Day: Leaving Gracefully

You should always have your reputation in mind when you leave a job.

1. Tell your boss first and in person.

2. Offer to train your replacement.

3. Don't complain to HR when they ask why you're leaving.

(Source: MoneyWatch)

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