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Abstract

University marketing students prefer experiential learning through competitions, internships, live authentic projects, and student businesses. The Google Online Marketing Challenge, the largest global student competition, has attracted over 30,000 students from 700 universities across 70 countries since its launch in 2008. Academics have researched various aspects of the Challenge quantitatively and qualitatively with closed and open-ended questions but no researcher has as yet asked students to express their learning of online marketing through the AdWords format, a core element of the Challenge that requires student teams to craft three lines of advertising texts within specific character counts to convey key messages of their clients. This paper adopts a unique approach to provide insights into the Challenge by asking students to promote the Challenge through the AdWords format. A questionnaire was sent to 38 participants of the Challenge in 2009, with 19 respondents writing 60 advertising texts to convey benefits of the Challenge to attract more students, academics, and clients to participate in the Challenge. Central themes that emerged were Google-trained work-ready students with real marketing-business skills and a challenged mindset. The process of writing short three-line advertisements to express core learning has implications for theory and practice.

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