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Marketing students team up to promote FBI and Honda

promotional event on Purdue’s Memorial Mall showcasing the Honda InsightStudents in Priya Francisco’s Marketing Planning and Research (MGMT 425) class know the bar set before them, and use it as motivation to reach even higher.

The trend began in 2008 with Francisco’s $2,000 grant from Purdue’s Community of Service-Learning Faculty Development program, which she used to involve students with the Boiler Volunteer Network (BVN) on projects benefiting such area organizations as Friends of the Columbian Park Zoo, Food Finders Food Bank, and the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.

Following that success, both sections in Francisco’s fall 2009 offering of the marketing class tested their skills in promoting a pair of more international brands: Honda Motor and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"Promoting a United States agency like the FBI and a global automobile manufacturer like Honda gave these students real-world experience unlike anything they’d find in a book," says Francisco, who began as a continuing lecturer in quantitative methods before joining Krannert’s marketing faculty.

Purdue was one of six schools participating in the FBI Collegiate Marketing and Recruitment Program. The Krannert team was responsible for implementing an integrated marketing campaign aimed at increasing awareness about FBI careers and internships among young adults.

At the end of the term, the group gave a formal presentation to the FBI summarizing its campaign and results. The students were judged on how well their approach highlighted career opportunities, including special agent and professional staff positions, as well as the number of applicants generated through the team’s Web site,

"Purdue students are well suited to careers with the FBI, which looks for students with backgrounds in accounting and finance, engineering, computer science and information technology, international studies, and foreign language," says Jack Walker (BSM ’10), who served as media contact for the group. "Our challenge was to develop creative strategies communicating that to our peers."

According to Francisco, the students more than met the challenge. "The agency representatives who attended the presentation were very impressed," she says. "As a result of the students’ efforts, the FBI is now actively recruiting from Purdue."

Selected to compete along with 20 other schools across the United States, the second class worked to increase awareness for the 2010 Honda Insight hybrid among the "Generation Y" market. In addition to a promotional event in November on Purdue’s Memorial Mall, project leader Jonathan Miller (BSM ’10) and his team produced a film showcasing the car, which can be viewed online at

The final presentation submitted to Honda officials earned the students a prize of $2,500 and recognition as one of the top teams in the competition. "What the students accomplished was nothing short of fantastic," says Francisco. "Purdue and Krannert should be proud of their efforts."

— Tanya Brown and Eric Nelson