Student Campaign of the Year - Academy of Art University

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America's Next Laptop Model

The “America's Next Laptop Model” campaign, created by Jenelly Dela Pena and Brandon Crumley, undergraduate students at the Academy of Art University, took top honors in this year's Caples Student Campaign of the Year competition. The name is a playful spoof of the TV series America's Next Top Model. Students this year were tasked with creating a direct marketing campaign for the Sony Vaio laptop series to increase awareness for the line of laptops on college campuses.

The duo created an innovative integrated campaign that combined classic direct tactics with state-of-the-art marketing technology, using direct mail, augmented reality, a microsite, social media and event marketing. Andrew Belth, senior VP-direct marketing at Alloy Media and Marketing, sponsor of the student competition and one of its judges, called the winning entry “a great concept” and added it was “a clever use of media.”

The direct mail piece was housed in a coded CD sleeve. Recipients were able to play the CD on their computer or go to the website. Once there, they encountered an introductory video on using the coded sleeve for augmented reality. That involved holding the sleeve up to their computer webcam to “pose” with a virtual Vaio laptop and enter the America's Next Laptop Model contest. The microsite further enabled the recipient's engagement with the product. There they could upload photos and check the schedule for Sony's on-campus live events. A street team traveled to select college campaigns to hold live photo shoots, where a photographer would snap pictures of students posing with Sony laptops and upload them to Facebook, tagging both the prospect and the product.

Honorable Mention: One Sony Suits You

“One Sony Suits You,” a campaign created by New York University undergrad Elena Chacko, takes home this year's Honorable Mention student award.

She created a stand-out campaign that included dimensional mail, a microsite, word-of-mouth and a blog to promote the customization capabilities of the Vaio laptop series, as well as highlight its sleek style. The campaign targeted high school graduates already enrolled in college, and the timing coincided with their month of graduation “because most students purchase their first laptop within three months before college starts,” Chacko said, based on her research.

A direct mail piece consisted of a VAIO laptop-shaped dry erase board with the marketer's logo, and a gift-with-purchase coupon directing recipients to Dry erase boards are typically hung on dormitory doors for students to leave notes for each other, so it reinforced Sony Vaio branding.

The coupon offered a free Sony digital camera with the purchase of a Vaio laptop, as long as students referred three friends to enjoy that benefit with their own laptop purchases. Similar to deal site Groupon, the deal is only valid if all four students buy a laptop. The microsite featured more information about the computers.

An unbranded blog was also created that featured photos of odd signs and notes students leave on their dorm doors.

The panel of judges

Andrew Belth, SVP of Direct Marketing, Alloy Media and Marketing

Lisa Louché, Director of Direct Marketing, Alloy Media and Marketing

Carol Krol, Editor-in-Chief, Direct Marketing News

Patrick Fultz, President, John Caples International Awards

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