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Currents: think sell

Advertising Class Creates Ad Campaigns for Mount Sunapee Resort

While many students were working hard on mid-terms this semester, Adjunct Professor of Business Administration John Ferries' advertising class was donning business attire and putting the finishing touches on their ad campaigns for Mount Sunapee Resort. The class, after spending the first half of the semester looking into the mind of the consumer, put their newfound knowledge to use by creating a professional, real-world project that targeted beginners, families and college students as potential Mount Sunapee customers.

The project, which mirrored those done by Professor Ferries' previous advertising classes in partnership with local businesses such as New London Hospital, New London Inn, Spring Ledge Farm and Jack's Coffee, was put to the ultimate test when the students presented their ideas to Bruce McCloy, director of Marketing and Sales at Mount Sunapee.

The students were divided into four teams to come up with advertising strategies that spanned media such as radio, print and even word-of-mouth, and produced professional results in just three weeks from the date the assignment was given. Professor Ferries explains, “Everything is on real time, so this assignment can be a stressful experience. There are deadlines and presentation pressures to cope with, but it gives the students a taste of the real world they're about to enter. It's a great learning experience.”

The students, who had full course loads, jobs and numerous extra-curricular commitments to juggle simultaneously with the development of their presentation, handled the pressure with great poise. Senior Cameron Sardelli explains the challenges and benefits of working in a group with a tight deadline at hand. “While it is always possible to do work for an assignment quicker as an individual, working in a group provides far more perspectives. Working with a group of people who were skiers, snowboarders, and people who had never been on a mountain really helped us generate a lot of ideas. It was worth the extra time.”

The finished product was a full-length presentation to McCloy which included several creative ideas such as giving Mount Sunapee a new identity as the Snowzone, catchy slogans to appeal to college students like “Shred for Little Bread,” and fun radio advertisements that encouraged beginners and families to hit the slopes this winter. The groups even took a look at the resort's web site and offered suggestions and ideas as to how McCloy and the marketing department can improve their current marketing and advertising techniques.

“Mount Sunapee has nearly doubled their ski days through their own advertising strategies, so they are obviously doing something right,” Ferries acknowledged before the students took the spotlight on presentation day. “Now our students are going to step up and explain how they think it can be improved.”

The groups, which took on the roles of four mini-advertising agencies, reveled in the real-world experience that the project gave them. Sardelli considers the project great preparation for the future. “Not only were we able to make real use of our knowledge from the course, but we were also given the opportunity work in a bigger setting where course information can be expanded on.”

The presentation ended with compliments from McCloy, who told the students that many of their ideas were something for Mount Sunapee to consider in their future advertising endeavors.

“I thought all four groups put a lot of work into their presentation and they all had some terrific ideas," McCloy said. "I was impressed at the number of advertising mediums they included in their marketing plans. I particularly like the Snow Zone campaign; Snow Zone was tied in nicely throughout the campaign, the work was clean and uncluttered and the content reflected the inherent values and fun of skiing and snowboarding. I hope they all continue with follow-up research by taking advantage of the skiing and snowboarding privileges here at Mount Sunapee this winter.”

In closing, Professor Ferries explained that assignments like this one are typically a win-win situation for both the companies and the students involved. The finished project gives the client fresh advertising ideas and the students gain valuable real-world experience.

-Jessica K. McLavey '10

Jessica K. McLavey is an English major and an intern in College Communications at Colby-Sawyer College.