A student-led social media campaign designed to engage students that started last month will continue through the spring semester.

The program, #HokiesTasteTheFeeling, was launched on the Drillfield Feb. 15 by marketing seniors Kasey Chau, of Alexandria, Virginia, and Kasey Casella, of McLean, Virginia. The students pitched their winning campaign in the second annual “Barracuda Bowl,” a student competition focused on bringing together Virginia Tech and Coca-Cola brands through social media. 

The contest was sponsored by Virginia Tech’s marketing department in the Pamplin College of Business and presented by Coca-Cola.

After impressing both Coca-Cola executives and members of the Pamplin College of Business Marketing Industry Mentoring Board, the two students were awarded the opportunity to execute their campaign, which focuses on how Coca-Cola can be incorporated into the best Virginia Tech moments.

“While all the submissions for the Barracuda Bowl were strong, Kasey Chau and Kasey Casella impressed the panel with their ability to take a creative idea from conception to a well-thought-out execution," said Jenn Hoker, vice president at Edelman Intelligence and a board member.  “I’m excited to see how the #HokiesTasteTheFeeling campaign tracks over this semester after a successful launch. This experience showcases the ability of students to apply the theoretical to real-world challenges, which will prove invaluable as they embark on their careers next year.”

The launch event, titled “My Moment,” took place on the Drillfield to engage with students on their way to classes. Students were encouraged to snap photos, enjoy a Coca-Cola, listen to music, and write their experiences on the “My Moment” wall. 

Examples shared on the wall included, “Meeting new people,” “Beating UVA in basketball,” and “Laughing with my lovely roomies every day!”

Two students pose in front of the mural designed for the event.
Students have their picture taken in front of the mural designed for the event.

The student winners, Chau and Casella, planned and executed the “My Moments” event, and its impact will be evaluated on an ongoing basis as part of the project.

“The marketing department and marketing industry mentoring board in the Pamplin College of Business continue to be amazed by the talent and creativity of our students,” said Donna Wertalik, associate professor of practice of marketing.

Wertalik said that all aspects of the #HokiesTasteTheFeeling campaign will be carried out by students, with Coca-Cola providing program support and funding.  

“We are all excited to see the Barracuda Bowl give marketing students the opportunity to plan, launch, and measure a real-life marketing campaign, allowing them to apply classroom knowledge in a real-world setting,” she said.

“Coca-Cola is truly committed to higher education and is so grateful for our ongoing partnership at Virginia Tech,” said Aimee Cox, director of sponsorship for colleges and universities at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. “We are both thrilled and impressed with the response received from this program.”

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