News Column

Students Plug 'Spark' with Social Media

Nov. 27, 2012

Ed Waters Jr.

Chevy Spark

Have you heard of the Chevrolet Spark?

If you are on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, you may have seen some well-produced videos and messages about the new small car.

The promotions are part of a project by the Hood College students of David Gurzick through General Motors.

"I teach management information systems as they relate to business, how technology impacts business," said Gurzick at an interview in the student lounge.

Eighteen students, nine on each of two teams -- Boost and Hype --worked to create the video, messages and other activities for the project.

"It wasn't a sales pitch," said Megan Cevallos, a member of the Boost team, "it was to make the Spark name recognizable."

The General Motors Northeast promotion team provided the students with a 2013 Spark for a week at the beginning of the semester and again last week.

"We had a scavenger hunt where people had to find out where we had the car," said student Rachel Kaelber. People could look on the various social media for clues as to where the car was parked in downtown Frederick.

"The scavenger hunt was a real challenge," said student Colin Bathgate. "We used restaurants or other places as hints."

The Spark was parked at six different locations over a four-day period. Those who found the car first won prizes such as a gift certificate to Starbucks, Frederick Coffee Co., or downtown stores. Gurzick is on the board of Celebrate Frederick and, along with the students, wanted to include local businesses in the prizes.

Gurzick said General Motors realized the potential for social media, especially for younger demographics. The Hood students provided the perfect match to see what could be created.

"New technology is changing the business landscape," Gurzick said. The project gives the students a challenge, not only for their academic achievements but also into the real world of marketing, promotion and the ever-growing use of social media for business.

At the end of the week, with the jalapeno-green Spark parked in front of Cobletnz Hall, the students held a party to celebrate their work.

Students decorated the lounge appropriately with balloons they had enhanced with the Chevrolet logo, posters and T-shirts. Along with music and food, the students, and the professor, celebrated their work.

Gurzick said General Motors marketing professionals will view the student's work later in the month.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 The Frederick News-Post (Frederick, Md.)

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