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Marketing students get fired up by Firestone
25 May 2017

The Department of Marketing Management at UP will, for a second year, work in partnership with Bridgestone tyre manufacturers on the third-year Marketing Management practical project. The focus of the project for 2017 is to develop a brand communications plan specifically for Firestone (a brand owned by Bridgestone) to increase awareness of this brand among 18 to 45-year-old tyre consumers. The Bridgestone team launched the project during class on 25 April 2017, introducing students to the company and the project.

The Bridgestone team attending the launch consisted of Dr Gerhard Heyns (General Manager of Sales), Ms Kelly Fester (Public Relations, CSR and Social Media Lead), Ms Desiree van Niekerk (Marketing Manager: SupaQuick) and Mr Patrick John Leslie (General Manager of Marketing). Each student received a goodie bag filled with a Firestone-branded buff, key ring, pen and Red Bull to keep their energy levels pumping.

From left to right: Mr Patrick John Leslie (General Manager of Marketing), Dr Tania Maree (Lecturer), Ms Desiree van Niekerk (Marketing Manager: SupaQuick), and Ms Kelly Fester (Public Relations, CSR and Social Media Lead)

The final-year BCom Marketing Management students were all fired up to meet with their client for this year’s practical project. The class commenced with the Head of the Department of Marketing Management, Prof Yolanda Jordaan, introducing the Bridgestone team and thanking them for their valuable input in providing the Marketing Management students with a hands-on experience of real-life challenges that they face daily. She also encouraged the students to work hard, learn a lot and enjoy the practical experience that this project has to offer.

After the introduction, Mr Leslie took the students on a trip down tyre memory lane. Students were introduced to the Bridgestone company and brand, the Firestone brand, the history between the two brands, what the tyre industry looks like and some of Firestone’s previous marketing campaigns. He also introduced the students to the project itself and gave them a bit of a teaser as to the prizes up for grabs. Students who participated during the class received Firestone-branded diaries for their enthusiasm – an additional bonus.

Students were tasked with their first tyre challenge, which entailed each team receiving a flash drive (a little VW Kombi branded with Firestone) containing various Firestone images. Each team had to choose an image, choose an appropriate social media channel, come up with a catchy slogan and hashtags that would support this Firestone image and share it as widely as possible. Adding to the challenge was that students only had 24 hours to gain as many likes and shares as they could. The team that achieved the most likes and shares on their posts would walk away as winners of the class challenge. After putting some thought into it, the students went all out in generating Firestone excitement on their social media pages with the winning team, Team 9 – Pentos, amassing a total of 1068 likes and shares. Below a picture of some of the students showing off the buffs and Kombi flash drives they received.

The UP-Bridgestone practical project for 2017 was launched with much excitement and the students are enthused about the project. Student Bianca Pienaar said: “We are looking forward to engaging with such a dynamic brand. The students are motivated and ready to get their hands, hearts and heads around this brand.” Below is a picture of the students during the launch of the practical project in class.

- Author Department of Marketing Management
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Last edited by Liesl OosthuizenEdit
Mr Patrick John Leslie, Dr Tania Maree, Ms Desiree van Niekerk, and Ms Kelly Fester