A team of undergraduate students in the UNM Anderson School of Management’s advertising campaigns course took first place and a $5,000 prize in a national fintech marketing competition sponsored by EdVenture Partners.

The team’s challenge was to identify the right branding, messaging, marketing channels, and product strategy for an all-in-one financial app aimed at helping young adults take control of their finances. To address the challenge, students in the class developed a campaign (The smart way to spend, save and invest your money) which included digital video and social media activations across multiple platforms.

Students who were part of the team included Justin Abel, Nicholas Havens, Mateo Iliohan, Carlos Lopez, Kieron Magee, David Martinez, Noah McDonald, Kai Nakamura, Jennifer Nguyen, Dominique Ortega, Cassandra Ruiz, Zachary Weiss and Devin Wolfel. 

Photo of McKinnon Building

The $5,000 cash prize will support the Rick and Debbie Johnson Marketing Lab, a state-of-the-art learning studio for students enrolled in advertising campaigns and social media marketing courses at the Anderson School.

Professor John Benavidez states that student success begins in the classroom. "Our classes prioritize hands-on experience with marketing research, strategy development and creative execution, giving our students a competitive edge. Numerous judges have commended our students for developing highly effective messaging strategies and creative that are data-driven." 

Interim Dean Julie Coonrod commented on this success saying, "We are proud of our Anderson students. Anderson's vision is to be a partner in progress, lifting and leading as we work together to create social and economic progress for a better New Mexico. These students embody our vision!" 

The win builds upon UNM’s long history of excellence in competition-based learning. Since 2005, the marketing program has earned eleven first-place honors, five second-place finishes and two honorable mentions in national collegiate marketing competitions. 

"The number one thing is we have always received outstanding support from UNM in order to succeed," said Benavidez in crediting the success to UNM's investment in the Rick and Debbie Johnson Marketing Lab. "The Marketing Lab gives students access to the same tools used by blue-chip multinational corporations, advertising agencies and media companies to conduct in-depth analysis of markets and develop integrated marketing communication campaigns."

The Rick and Debbie Johnson Marketing Lab reflects the hands-on experiences available in this state-of-the-art facility that fosters learning valuable business skills like negotiation, persuasion, motivation and more. Rick and Debbie Johnson were owners of the state's best-known and longest-lasting advertising agency, Rick Johnson and Company founded in 1977. 

The name comes from the fact that out-of-the-box ideas and thoughts can be concocted in a lab. Benefactor Debbie Johnson says the Marketing Lab is modeled after a conference room in the Johnson ad agency called the "creative kitchen," wherein the creative staff "cooked" strategies and ideas.

For more information, visit Rick and Debbie Johnson Marketing Lab.