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New class offers credit assistance


By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
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A marketing class is teaching students about how to manage their credit wisely by promoting a Web site sponsored by Citibank that is geared at college students.

The 400-level advertising class is a requirement for marketing majors and offers real-world experience of how to put together a successful marketing campaign, along with a $2,500 budget to manage, said Ed Ackerley, a marketing and media arts adjunct professor, who teaches the course.

Courtney Rich, a marketing senior, said the class was responsible for promoting the Web site Studentsusecreditwisely.com to students on campus with a table on the UA Mall and other advertisements.

"It shows how dangerous credit can be, and students need to understand what that really means and how the amount they charge is just growing with interest," Rich said.

The class was given $2,500 to use in its marketing and had to budget the money as wisely as possible to create its "Campaign Wildcat," which had to be marketed to a goal of 1 million people.

"If it had just been a mock assignment, it would have been something we put together but wasn't implemented," said Stephanie Slawsky, a marketing senior. "But be were given the funds and needed to implement it, (which) made it relevant on a different level."

Ackerley said Citibank was pleased with the campaign the class set up, through Ed-Venture, a third-party marketing firm. The class had been requested to participate in the particular campaign because of past campaigns Ackerley's classes have done, including last year's Chevy Cobalt project.

"It was a tough client," Ackerley said, "particularly because students don't typically want to talk about their credit or credit score."

The Web site helps students calculate credit scores, learn about annual percentage rate, and credit and identity theft, among other topics.

Rich, who was the public relations chairwoman for the class, said the project was effective in a lot of ways and taught her and her classmates what their careers will be like after graduation.

"It was effective in a lot of ways, especially working on deadline," Rich said. "Professor Ackerley stepped out of the project and really let us take it and do most of it ourselves."

Several students in the class took on leadership roles as chairs of publicity, budget, and marketing techniques and the 28 students taking the class were divided into such groups.

Rich said breaking the class up into different departments marketing firms operate with was beneficial and helped them create a mini-marketing firm of their own.

"It split us into each part of advertising and we got to see how each department works with each other and delegated (responsibility) to make sure there was proper communication," Rich said.

Ackerley said he saw the class was gaining the real-world experience it needs to be successful after graduation and was impressed with the way Campaign Wildcat came together.

"They are more prepared to go out into the real world and compete, and just get out there," Ackerley said. "They really pulled it off and it turned out really nice, actually. Practical application is always important."



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