On December 9, four student teams from the Manhattan Early College School for Advertising (MECA) showcased their advertising campaigns for Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. They presented their ideas in MECA’s auditorium, and competed for free tickets to the theme park.
“This was really tough,” said Paul Gould, Director of Sales and Marketing at Six Flags and one of four industry professionals who gave feedback and selected the winning team, "Best Time Ever,” which included MECA students Anthony Crespo, Jefry Ricon Lopez, Efrain Mendez and Leon Ramotar.
All four ninth graders received tickets to the theme park, and had presented an advertising plan in areas that all four teams had focused on: strategy, creative ideas, media plan, suggested partnerships for Six Flags, and overall presentation.
Tomorrow's media professionals
“We know as media professionals, we’re going to see you in the industry one day,” Gould told the contestants. His fellow judges and marketing professionals included Juliette Eziefula of Deutsch, Inc.; Jamie Suk of Horizon Media and Aleigh Huston-Lyons of Momentum Worldwide.
“I loved the radio spot,” Huston-Lyons told the first team, “Black Sophistication,” which included MECA students Naeemah Allen, Tyler Herrera, Shakira Mills, Makeda Walker Huggins and Zyah Washington. The students had written, sung and recorded an original radio commercial highlighting Six Flag’s Holiday in the Park events, which garnered enthusiastic applause from the audience and judges’ panel.
The second team included Esneri Acosta, Tamara Nunez, Ocean Valentine and Anna Zamanberdiyeva and got kudos from the judges for their tagline, “Don’t Let the Cold Stop You,” as well as for their idea of partnering with Uggs and expanding Six Flags ads to the sides of city busses.
The third team on stage was “Dreamers of the Six,” which included Taylor Allen, Shaniya Clarke, Kayla Foster, Terrell Guerra, Jordon Haskell, Nathan John and Alex Messon and was recognized for having maximized what they learned from an earlier briefing session, in which they learned about Six Flags’ current marketing plan.
MECA is a partnership between BMCC, the NYC Department of Education, CUNY and industry partners from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). MECA students begin taking college courses with BMCC professors in the 10th grade, and over a six-year period, earn a high school Regents Diploma and free associate degree from BMCC.
Al Benoit, MECA's liaison with 4A’s, organized the Six Flags event along with MECA teachers Carol Sun and Lora Morgenstern. BMCC’s liaison to MECA, Gregory Bryant also helped coordinate the event.
MECA principal Matt Tossman welcomed the audience and commented that getting feedback from industry professionals “benefits students because it lends authenticity to what they do. The judges as well as many of our teachers who have worked in the advertising and media fields, help keep students aware of current marketing, creative and business trends, and are able to give them actionable next steps for their projects."
“I was impressed with the students’ presentation skills and how they had picked up cues in the session they attended with our marketing team," Tossman added. "I see great possibilities for these students.”