Wednesday, August 3, 2011

International Marketing Challenge for Students Was Provided by charity: water

New York, NY, — The Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF) today announced the winners of the 2011 DMEF Collegiate ECHO Direct/Interactive Marketing Challenge, whose content was provided by charity: water, an international nonprofit that provides clean drinking water to communities worldwide that are deprived of access. The 2011 competition was conducted during the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 semesters, and included entries on the undergraduate and graduate levels. Student teams from around the globe participated in the Challenge.

For the first time ever, a nonprofit company was the subject of the Challenge. Conducted since 1986, DMEF’s Collegiate ECHO Challenge provides college students with real-world experience by challenging them to create a marketing campaign for an actual product or service.

This year, the marketing challenges centered on charity: water. Each team, working with a theoretical budget of US $10,000, was challenged to increase brand awareness and engagement with the college student demographic. Teams were strongly encouraged to use direct/interactive media channels, especially in the social media and digital arenas.

The winners of the DMEF’s 2011 Collegiate ECHO Challenge are:

  • Gold (1st place)/Undergraduate: Christopher Newport University
  • Gold (1st place)/Graduate: Eastern Michigan University
  • Silver (2nd place)/Undergraduate: Oklahoma State University
  • Silver (2nd place)/Graduate: Eastern Michigan University
  • Bronze (3rd Place)/Undergraduate: Indiana University- South Bend
  • Bronze (3rd Place)/Graduate: CUNY Baruch College

“The DMEF Collegiate ECHO Challenge is a showcase for some of the more innovative thinking coming out of the nation’s top marketing programs,” said Paull Young, Director of Digital, charity: water. “We were impressed by the level of professionalism of the ideas submitted, and their focus on new media and use of video. In particular, the winning entries showed high-level strategic thinking, strong research and sound measurement.”

“Our Collegiate ECHO Challenge gives students an opportunity to work on issues from the front lines of business, both profit and nonprofit,” said DMEF President Terri L. Bartlett. “This year’s social-media and digitally focused Challenge was one of our most rigorous, thanks to the business case designed by charity: water. The results speak for themselves, with this year’s Challenge topping past years’ submissions by more than 30 percent. It is incredibly satisfying for students, academics, and the corporate sponsor, as the winning submissions offer marketing solutions that will support charity: water as they continue their great work. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to partner with such a worthy organization.”

"This year, charity: water provided an incredible marketing challenge,” added Dr. Lisa Spiller, Christopher Newport University, faculty advisor for the winning undergraduate team. “Our CNU team of students rose to that challenge by thinking way ‘outside the box’ to develop an innovative marketing campaign. They learned that they could put together an excellent marketing campaign on a shoestring budget — something that many nonprofit organizations must do on a regular basis. The students had an awesome sense of fulfillment and achievement when their campaign was finalized. The entire experience was such a win-win learning situation for all!"

Awards for Teams, Scholarships for Universities

  • Gold Award-winning undergraduate team members from Christopher Newport University will split a cash prize of $2,000, and a $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to their university’s marketing department.
  • Undergraduate Silver Award winners from Oklahoma State University will split a cash prize of $1,000, and a $2,500 scholarship will be awarded to their university’s marketing department.
  • The undergraduate Bronze Award winners from Indiana University South Bend will split a $500 cash prize, and a $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to their university’s marketing department.

Over its 25-year history, Collegiate ECHO Competition sponsors have included such prestigious companies as Pitney Bowes, ING DIRECT, Publishers Clearing House, Mazda North American Operations, Ford Motor Company, Hallmark Cards, and Microsoft Bing.

For more information about the International ECHO Awards, which will be presented on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, during the DMA2011 Conference & Exhibition, please visit www.echoawards.org. To register or for additional information about DMA2011, being held October 1-6 Boston, please visit dma11.org.

About Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF)

Headquartered in New York City, the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF) works to attract, educate, and place college students in direct/interactive marketing careers, thereby expanding and enriching the talent pool of trained, market-ready marketers. Established in 1966 by members of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) who wanted to give something back to the community, DMEF is today a separate, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that is supported solely by tax-deductible contributions from individuals and companies. Tax-deductible contributions are the lifeblood of the DMEF; funds raised support a broad range of world-class educational programs and scholarships.

Since its founding, thousands of students have taken advantage of DMEF’s educational programs, entering the field with the competitive edge of being “workplace-ready.” Many have gone on to become today’s marketing leaders, an indication of the Foundation’s success. In addition, more than 2,000 professors have participated in DMEF programs. For additional information about the DMEF, its mission, and its programs, visit www.directworks.org.

About charity: water

charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects. We inspire giving and empower others to fundraise for sustainable water solutions. We use local partners on the ground to build and implement the projects. Then, we prove every single project funded, using GPS coordinates, photos and stories from the field.

We’re solving the world water crisis, one project at a time. For information, visit www.charitywater.org.

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Sue R.E. Geramian