Marketing class plans Park Blocks blowout

Next Wednesday, the beautiful faces of Jennifer Aniston,Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp will begracing the campus. Sadly, that doesn’t mean they’ll be visitingPortland State.

What it does mean is that the advertising campaigns of professorDon Dickinson’s Marketing 443 class will soon be filling the ParkBlocks with another of their noontime product-plugging eventsfeaturing photos of the famous stars. As usual, it will featurefun, food, fashions and freebies.

The event will unroll in the Park Blocks fronting Smith MemorialStudent Union Monday and Tuesday, May 17 and 18, from 11 a.m. to 3p.m.

This time, the 40-person class’s assignment is to market Peoplemagazine to college-age women. Portland State has been selected asone of only five colleges in the nation to vie in this competition.If they win, they’ll get a trip to New York City for five studentsto present the campaign directly to the People magazine’s marketingpeople.

Dickinson, director of advertising management in the School ofBusiness, spent years laboring in the trenches of advertisingbefore joining PSU six years ago. He knows how to push studentsinto a nuts-and-bolts approach to moving a product, although helaughingly says, “I’m just doing this from the back seat.”

The marketing gimmick in this campaign is that college studentscan buy a bargain subscription to People magazine at the price of20 issues for $20. The theme is 20/20 GlamJam, which accounts forthe presence of Aniston’s photo. Another photo, of Depp, advertises”Buy me for a buck.” To secure the win, the class hopes to sell 400subscriptions before June 9.

The promotional organization that specializes in these collegecompetitions, Ed Venture Partners of Berkeley, Calif., providedsome budget but most of the giveaways and a lot of the programfeatures came from donations which the students worked hard tosolicit.

Two students who helped lead the charge are Don Skramovsky andSheilin Herrick, both seniors in marketing and advertising.Skramovky’s official mantle is director of public relations.Herrick is advertising committee head, with the responsibility ofputting together a promotional Web site.

Actually, Skramovky said, although the class is dividedinto separate marketing functions, there is a lot of crossover inputting the pieces together. All the class participants will wearT-shirts reading “Buy Me for a Buck” for two weeks. On the back itwill read, “Sexiest Deal Alive.”

Tabling promotions for the 20/20 feature will begin Wednesdayand continue the week after the event. PSU also has arranged forone-day tablings at Portland Community College, Clark College, Mt.Hood Community College and Clackamas Community College.

Never mind the cash commitments, what about the freebies? Well,they will be numerous and valuable, although the best will bereserved for students who actually sign up for the 20/20subscription.

The class is pushing its slogan, “The sexiest deal alive,” andthe campaign attempts to prove it. People who sign up not only getthe 20 issues for $20, they get an estimated $100 more in freegifts. These include such “on demand” gifts as a massage, apedicure or an ink tattoo. Subscribers also can enter the raffle,which will give away such prizes as a gift certificate to The Keg,a golf lesson at Portland Golf Club and an overnight stay at theMarriott hotel.

Everybody can participate in one of the familiar booths whereyou go around and fill out the right answer to a product questionposed at the booth. When you fill all your blanks, you are eligiblefor a free gift and food.

Everyone is eligible for one of the door prizes, which could bea one-month pass to 24-Hour Fitness, appetizers at Wallbangers or acoupon for McDonald’s.

There will be two or three fashion shows a day from localdesigners. For those who like to slam doors on hot iron, there willbe an Audi TT convertible coupe and a Mini Cooper parked onpremises.

Knowing the importance of a music accompaniment, the class hasextended the welcome mat to radio stations, Z-100 and Jammin95.5.

Portland State is competing against some heavy-dutyuniversities. They include Ohio State, University of SouthernCalifornia, DePaul of Chicago and University of Colorado atColorado Springs.

“The thing is so unusual,” Dickinson said. “All we have is very,very loose assignments.” The time allotted was very short. Theclass received its orientation in March and started the projectMarch 30. This is the seventh year PSU has gotten assignments fromthe Ed Ventures Company.

“If there’s a short list for a project, we are always on it,”Dickinson said. “Ed Ventures know we do topnotch, agency qualitywork.”

How does this campaign plan to deal with the competitionof other popular similar magazines such as “In Touch” and “UsWeekly?” Herrick had an answer.

“Our basic plan is to drown the competition,” she said. “Thecompetition isn’t throwing an event.”

Herrick mentioned other recent successes by the marketing andadvertising classes.

“It’ll be a clean sweep this year,” she said. This week fivestudents of one class will fly to Detroit, Michigan, to deliver aconsulting presentation to Cadillac. Another class has just won aregional student competition run by the American AdvertisingFederation. A team is going to Dallas,, June 12 for fourdays in connection with the award.

The Web site for more information on the People contest or tosubscribe online is