Communications Students Travel to Jacksonville for Marketing Innovation Challenge

Direct Effect 2

Last month nine Bethune-Cookman University students traveled to Jacksonville to participate in the 2024 Spring Direct Effect Innovation Challenge — a business competition designed to provide students with experiential learning opportunities and the chance to solve real-world problems. The challenge is billed as a collaboration between colleges and universities across the U.S., the printing and mailing industry, and the United States Postal Service. Over the course of the one-day event, students were asked to “develop an epic, omni-channel, direct mail marketing campaign” for a client in three hours. Teams were then given five minutes to pitch their direct mail marketing concepts to a team of judges for a chance to take home the trophy.

Students were split into two teams led by Department of Mass Communications instructors Ms. Aleya Bradley and Mr. Christopher Shaw for the 2024 Spring Direct Effect Innovation Challenge April 19. Students were tasked with helping Legoland NYC engage different audience sectors in the one-day competition.

One team developed an idea for a Mom’s Made Mail campaign, featuring self care and affirmation activities at Legoland NYC on Mother’s Day. The second team joined with students from Fayetteville State University to develop a campaign that highlighted Legoland’s sensory play activities for autistic and special needs children and the ways the activities can provide a fun outlet for physical activity and awareness.

Experiential learning plays a key role in helping our institution to define new standards for academic excellence and student success by educating and empowering learners who will seek their own solutions; advocate opportunities for all citizens to improve their quality of life; and inculcate global perspectives and realities to people worldwide.

“I think it is important for students to participate in events and challenges like this to help them get real-world experience outside of the classroom,” Ms. Bradley said. “While they didn’t win, executives from Legoland and USPS were impressed with the students’ effort and their ideas. They also connected with a few of the students, [and] we hope this blossoms into possible opportunities for our students.”

direct effect challenge
“Students were able to showcase their creative, journalistic, and marketing skills,” she continued. “They had to not only speak publicly but they had to use their multimedia skills that we practice on campus. They used their graphic design skills as well to help create intriguing powerpoint presentations, logos etc.”

Ms. Bradley stressed the importance of seizing as many networking opportunities as possible for students, saying she considered the competition an important opportunity for students to connect with not just the current students who will be their future colleagues, but also the professionals who were on-site supporting the competition.