University of Southern California Wins Honda Element College Marketing Championship
Students from 29 universities create real Honda marketing campaigns

The University of Southern California (USC) edged out rival schools in the Honda Element College Marketing Championship, a program providing marketing students from around the country the opportunity to gain valuable experience researching, developing and implementing local marketing campaigns for the Honda Element. The program was implemented as a fully accredited 15-week college course during the Spring 2003 semester and concluded with a competition among the 29 participating colleges and universities.

The Honda Element, an all-new light truck designed to fit the needs of a new generation of car buyers, served as the focus for aspiring marketing students to develop a critical understanding of how to increase awareness and interest in a product through market research and grass roots marketing programs.

"The Honda Element Marketing Championship gave the students credible, real-world experience that can be taken directly into the job market," said Tom Peyton, senior manager for regional marketing. "Honda benefits because the students created an innovative presence at the core of Element's market on college campuses."

Starting with $2,500 in seed money, student teams had 15 weeks to create a comprehensive marketing campaign. Many of the projects included unique on campus advertising campaigns with print, radio and television support, interactive on-campus events with Elements on display, and programs involving partnerships with local and national companies resulting in giveaways ranging from snowboards to burritos and everything in between.

The winning USC marketing campaign involved the creation of a temporary student-run agency dubbed Illume Advertising Inc., that leveraged local student talent and business partnerships to create print, radio and television advertisements, develop and design a website, start an email campaign, and hold multiple on-campus promotional events. The campaign culminated in a three-day event on the USC campus in mid-April. The students attracted the support of more than a dozen private sector partnerships that donated giveaway items ranging from tickets to professional basketball games and comedy clubs to snowboards, skateboards, magazines and t-shirts. More information regarding the USC program can be found at

Top executives at American Honda narrowed the finalists from 29 teams to three and with the final decision being presented to the three finalists at Honda's U.S. headquarters in Torrance, California, on June 13. In addition to USC, the University of Texas and the University of Colorado qualified for the final round with all three schools each receiving a $5,000 scholarship.

"All of the students exhibited tremendous creativity and enthusiasm for the Honda Element College Marketing Championship," said Peyton. "We had a tough time narrowing the 29 programs down to three finalists because each one had components that were unique, effective and professionally organized."

The exclusive Honda program was developed in cooperation with Ed-Venture Partners of Berkelely, California, who produced and administered the educational program.

High-resolution photography and additional media information is available at More information regarding Ed-Venture Partners is available at

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