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Huntley High team wins MCC Marketing Challenge

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CRYSTAL LAKE – More than 150 high school marketing students let their creative juices flow as they presented marketing plans for frozen yogurt to their clients, owners of Yumz Gourmet Frozen Yogurt in Crystal Lake.

Students participated in McHenry County College’s 2013 Marketing Challenge last week, where they competed, developing and presenting the best marketing plan. The students were judged on logo and slogan creation, product packaging, brand and line extension development and media strategy, including use of social media targeted at high school students.

First place was awarded to a team from Huntley High School. Second place went to a team from Prairie Ridge High School, and third place went to Cary-Grove High School.

Huntley’s first-place team of Max Pilkerton, Tyler Schwartz, Trevor Obecny, Austin Gepperth, and Bryce Beschorner thought of a Yumz yogurt truck or wagon that would drive anywhere and everywhere. The company would utilize word of mouth through social media and sponsor a contest for high schools that would culminate in a “Yumz wagon” appearance at the winning school.

“It was a good event because we worked with a real-life situation and had to give real-life solutions,” Pilkerton said.

“It was an adrenalin rush because of the short amount of time we were given and the tasks that we had to do,” said Huntley’s Beschorner. Added teammate Schwartz, “We pushed creativity in a set amount of time.”

“The task was huge. When we arrived, we didn’t know what product we’d be working with. My job was to keep them on track and on task. In the end, they truly embodied their test market,” said Laura Bantz, adjunct business instructor, who served as team mentor for the event.

“This is a great event for the kids. I am impressed with their ideas. The Huntley ... team had good promotional ideas that set their apart,” said Matt Thelander, Yumz co-owner.

Dawn Wagner, instructor of International Business and Marketing at MCC, said the event not only provides high school students with real-world experience, it also creates a sense of community.

“This is only the second year hosting the Marketing Challenge and to watch local businesses like Yumz Frozen Yogurt, Studio 2015 Jewelry, Little Caesars and Jersey Mike’s give so freely of their donations and valuable time is awe inspiring,” Wagner said.

“Both MCC student interns, mentors and employees that created the event, and the high school students that took the challenge were innovative and so hard working in creating realistic marketing solutions for community companies," she said. “Every person I talked to said they loved it and can’t wait for next year’s competition.”

“It was fun to see so many kids engaged in this process,” said John Barnes, Yumz marketing director. “They are motivated. They had very good ideas. I appreciate their passion and they all had unique presentations. The future of marketing is in good hands.”

The 2014 competition will involve students developing a marketing plan for Little Caesars.

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