By Liz Warren-Pederson
Three teams of students designed campaigns focused on Tucson Fire Department (TFD) public safety programs as part of their coursework in associate professor Hope Schau’s integrated marketing communications class this semester.
“Over the course of a couple weeks, the students saw many different presentations from local companies and groups,” said Mandy Hart, public safety education specialist with TFD. “In the class, they get to choose the project themselves, so the idea is to find something that they are passionate about.”
Hart’s own passion for TFD’s public safety programs came through for the students: not one, but three teams chose to work on TFD projects.
“We decided to focus on TFD because we saw that, in a government-funded sector, it is often hard to gain valuable and free insight about how you can improve your programs,” said Matthew Butrimovitz, Eller Marketing ’12. “My group also thought it would be fun to work with an organization that has done so much to better the city.”
Butrimovitz’s team worked on a campaign to promote motor vehicle safety; marketing seniors Alyssa Anderson and Jordan Underhill each worked on teams focused on drowning prevention campaigns.
“Personally, I swim for the University of Arizona, so this program struck close to home for me,” said Anderson. “Promoting a cause that I am passionate about made the project all the more worthwhile.”
The three teams proposed integrated campaign solutions, but one common theme came through for Hart: “It’s clear that we are behind in social media,” she said. “We heard that we really need a Facebook page!”
Some of the teams also proposed co-branded campaigns. Butrimovitz said his team built a campaign around an existing partnership with a local auto dealership. “With every new vehicle purchase in any of the dealerships, one car seat is given to a family in need,” he said. “This went along with the existing campaign that TFD already has, but what we propose is increasing the amount of car seats from 290 to 950 and increasing awareness through existing mediums such as TV and billboards.”
Anderson and Underhill’s teams both recommended expanding school programs. Underhill’s team also suggested a promotion with the Tucson Padres. “The Fire Department could throw the first pitch at a game, have a booth there, and promote over the PA system throughout the entire game,” she said. They also proposed a special giveaway item to hand out to kids.
“I was impressed with the proposals,” Hart said. “Eller students are obviously ambitious and career-oriented, but also wanted to give back to the community. We are seriously considering several of their proposals and will be presenting them to the chief of prevention.”
“The TFD project definitely gave a personal spin to the concepts and strategies we have learned in class,” Anderson said. “It’s great to work with professional individuals who have real-world problems. It gives us a sense of some of the issues we may be confronted with down the line in our own lines of work.”
“Not only am I am able to use what I have learned in my classes with real clients, it gives me an upper hand in job interviews where I can talk about how I was able to create a real marketing plan and recommend its implementation,” Butrimovitz said.
“Working with a real client is really a great experience,” Underhill said. “It makes us feel that we are actually being used for a purpose and the client will respect our ideas. And if our client likes our ideas, it is a really cool that they are likely to use them.” Learn more about partnering with the Eller College on student projects, and more.