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The Annual Marketing Student Challenge

The Annual Marketing Student Challenge

18 July, 2018

Cork Institute of Technology in collaboration with The Marketing Institute of Ireland (MII) held The Annual Student Marketing Challenge in April 2018. CIT Marketing Students were tasked with proposing a public relations campaign relating to the Dublin Horse Show for Alpes D’Or, a premium Belgium chocolate brand. The students also had to propose innovative and creative concepts to promote the company’s brand/ products.

The Baronie Group, Belgium’s largest chocolate maker, manufacture Alpes D’Or, in their state of the art manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. Through their parent company Sweet Products, they extended their product portfolio in November 2017 with its first acquisition of an ice-cream company, Glacio. Alpes D’Or is subsequently planning to open a number of chocolate and ice-cream cafés in Ireland.

Alpes D’Or was established in 1985, in a bid to reignite the brand, the company became the official sponsor to the Dublin Horse Show in 2017. This event attracts over 100,000 visitors annually from Ireland and abroad. The event is televised and is broadcast in over 50 countries around the world. This sponsorship was seen by Alpes D’Or as a key means of driving brand awareness and creating a positive brand image.

The Challenge

To achieve this, the students were tasked with developing an innovative PR campaign around the sponsorship of the Dublin Horse Show. They developed a press release and an initial campaign to promote the launch of the 2018 sponsorship. The brief also required the students to advise Alpes D´Or on how they should go about targeting the ‘indirect consumer’ (i.e. those ‘consuming the event’ remotely) and particularly international audiences. The students were finally tasked with providing recommendations for a PR campaign for the opening of a Chocolate & Ice-Cream Café in Cork City, which will be the first of a number of store openings planned for Ireland in the next two years, selling the Alpes D’Or and Glacio brands.

According to Conor Kelleher, Lecturer in Marketing at CIT, “We have been very fortunate to be able to work with Alpes D’Or in this module for two consecutive years – we had also looked at developing a PR campaign as they launched their brand in Ireland twelve months ago. While still in the early days, this time around the brief was altered to incorporate their exciting expansion plans, including opening outlets throughout Ireland. What was also hugely beneficial with this particular live case is how it highlighted the opportunities available to students if they are willing to work hard – the Alpes D’Or point of contact Michael O Donovan was in their very position – a final year student of the Marketing degree here in CIT just two years before! Michael is now the Sales & Business Development Manager with Alpes D’Or, and I thank him for his time spent on this engagement. Of course, it was great to link up with the MII Cork branch for this particular engagement also, and the best-in-class students were thrilled to have the opportunity to present to chairperson Maressa Mills and her colleagues. Thanks very much to MII Cork for their sponsorship of this annual event at CIT.”

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