UOWD students design Mercedes campaign - Emirates24|7

UOWD students design Mercedes campaign

UOWD students campaign design team with Alun Epps, left, and Wassim Derbi. (SUPPLIED)

Car manufacturer Mercedes is going back to the classroom for the launch of its latest Sports Coupé in Dubai.

Students from the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) have teamed up with local distributors Gargash Enterprises for the unveiling of the CLC – the next generation C-Class Coupé which is aimed at drivers aged between 18 and 28.

The launch is scheduled to take place on Monday as part of the global presentation of the new model.

Gargash, which distributes Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates, decided to involve the target consumer segment in the launch.

Final year students in UOWD's marketing communications and advertising course were invited to produce concepts for a campaign to market the car.

"As the Mercedes CLC 2008 is a trendy new model, we decided to involve all 61 students in the marketing exercise and decided to allot 20 per cent marks for the project," said Dr Alun Epps, the project co-ordinator and an assistant professor of marketing at the UOWD's College of Business. "We formed 14 groups and each began work separately to create a full proposal for the launch of the new car from scratch."

The students were given strict guidelines to help them plan and execute the launch campaign within a budget of Dh275,000 to cover all project-related costs, including media buying and event production. The students were required to present the full plan, along with a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis, and their own viewpoints and preferences.

Wassim Derbi, marketing manager of Gargash Enterprises, said: "While the budget was fixed the students were free to choose the modalities – whether print, online, events or others."

Surprisingly, none of the students actually saw the new car as the CLC is not due to arrive in Dubai until the day of the launch. But they were given detailed product information and based on this they prepared their campaign concepts.

A panel of Gargash executives and their consultants narrowed down the choice to four of the most appealing campaigns. Each of the "student agencies" presented their proposals to a panel comprising officials from Mercedes-Benz and its parent company Daimler.

The winning team was then selected and given the task of launching this snazzy new car. The winning team will be announced and honoured at the launch of the car at the Gargash showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Dr Epps said: "It was a win-win situation for both sides. Mercedes received fresh creative inputs from the target segment while the students had a real learning experience on a product that most of them were pleased to be associated with."

Derbi said: "When we were looking for ideas to launch the new car we thought that involving bright young students in the creative process would yield good results. They would be the best at expressing what the community wants.

"All the teams did an excellent job – picking the top four was a tough job. In fact there was a tie between the top two but we had to pick one as the best."

Participation in the project has given the UOWD students an opportunity to put their knowledge into practice and experience a real-life product launch.

Dr Epps said the net result of the collaboration was pure marketing synergy. Mercedes received a range of creative ideas directly from the primary target market, the students gain first-hand experience of working for one of the world's most reputed luxury brands, and the university enhanced its links with the international business community.

Sports Coupé with fun factor

The new CLC is an entry-level model in the Mercedes-Benz coupé family. The Sports Coupé's design, technology and equipment is aimed at the discerning needs of young drivers looking for a car that delivers the hallmark Mercedes quality standards, that include safety, comfort and the latest technology.

Engineering highlights of the CLC include a new direct-steer system for even more agile cornering and a full-colour infotainment system in the vehicle.