Student team wins digital marketing competition

‘Complimentary Breakfast’ team impresses hotel executives with digital campaign

Merritt Mleancon | Jun. 22, 2020

Complimentary Breakfast poses for a team photo in early March.
Complimentary Breakfast poses for a team photo in early March.

Every year, digital marketing students at the University of Georgia can put their skills into action through the UGA Digital Marketing Case Competition.

Despite the obstacles introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely didn’t stop students from meeting with clients, developing a workable digital marketing plan and seeing their ideas put into action.

This year’s winning five-member team, Complimentary Breakfast, worked with the InterContinental Hotels Group to develop a digital marketing campaign introducing the Hotel Indigo brand to new markets.

“I could not be more proud of these students. Each year, the winning team seems to increase their level of marketing sophistication and these students were no exception,” said Jennifer Osbon, a Terry College of Business lecturer who organized the digital marketing competition.

“They stepped up to an incredibly high level, and when COVID hit they switched to an online presentation format without missing a beat. Their drive for excellence and extreme flexibility shows they will be a perfect fit into the marketing community.” 

Members of the winning team included creative leader Thomas McMullen of Dalton, project manager Abigail Snyder of Watkinsville, technology leader May Fong of Lawrenceville, pitch leader Tori Brunner of Roswell, and marketing leader Anila Alam, of Suwannee. The team members each receive $1,000 in prize money.

The Complimentary Breakfast team met during an undergraduate marketing class, and their team chemistry and mix of skills clicked, Brunner said. One class project wasn’t enough, and they decided to sign up for the case competition.

More than 50 teams entered the competition in January. Teams were eliminated in three rounds before the final teams made their pitches to the clients in April. The competition is mandatory for students in the Digital Marketing Area of Emphasis, but it’s open to UGA students from other majors.

Students in the competition had to produce market research briefs, develop a strategic direction for their brand, create content and a visual guide for the campaign and choose actionable metrics to judge whether the campaign was successful.

Each team was mentored by an industry coach who helped them hone their ideas and professionalize their presentations. Complimentary Breakfast’s coach was Alan Magee, vice president of digital marketing and technology at Church’s Chicken. He praised their resourcefulness and strategic thinking.

“This group of diverse and talented individuals was not only focused and smart, but showed the ability to create an agency-level strategy and creative campaigns,” Magee said. “They tackled this dynamic problem by approaching it from multiple angles, constantly rethinking and questioning at each step in the journey.”

For the students, working through social distancing constraints with each other, their coach and their clients was challenging but gave them an experience of what work-life may be like when they graduate.