The University of New Mexico is one of 12 schools throughout the country participating in the startUP productions Marketing Challenge. Students in digital marketing, a new course offered by the Anderson School of Management and the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program, have created an in-class, working marketing agency. The agency is responsible for researching, implementing and evaluating an integrated marketing campaign aimed at increasing awareness and registered users for zaahahSM among the university target market and surrounding Albuquerque community. Participating campuses will be competing for the chance to present their creative ideas to startUP productions executives at the term's conclusion.

This spring, marketing and film students from UNM have a rare opportunity to put their education to work in the real world with a startup company, while gaining valuable social media experience. Students will begin by conducting research to find out more about the target market. After they have analyzed their research findings, they will create and implement their strategy for reaching the target market while achieving the client's goals. Students receive a $3,000 budget to develop and execute the campaign. At the end of the term, students will conduct post-campaign research to measure their success and give a formal presentation to the client summarizing their campaign and results.

"Employers are increasingly interested in employing graduates with training in real world application, not just textbook theory," said Professor John Benavidez. "Participation in education-industry programs such as this one will give our students an edge in today's competitive job market."

Developed by startUP productions, zaahah is an integrated online desktop and social search environment that is a transformative experience for users. zaahah integrates the user experience spanning search, social, commerce and community. It is the first solution to improve user productivity enabling collaboration. Users are able to view anonymous profiles of other users searching on the same topic and will be able to chat, email and Skype with each other. For more information, visit zaahah.

The founder of Philadelphia-based startUP productions and the driving force behind zaahah is James Sisneros. He is responsible for business development, product strategy and development, recruitment and any activity related to building startUP. Sisneros has more than 20 years of sales and business development experience, and extensive experience working with startups and recruiting top talent as the founder of Launch Executive Consultants. A native New Mexican, Sisneros earned a B.B.A. in Marketing from UNM in 1990.

For additional information regarding the UNM's participation in the startUP productions Marketing Challenge, contact Jordan Olivas at (505) 273-1132 or email,

To join the zaahah community, which will track registrants generated by the UNM campaign, visit zaahah-unm.

Media Contact: Jordan Olivas (505) 273-1132; email: