WMU News

Students' marketing plan judged among top in nation

Nov. 1, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Although they're barely old enough to legally enjoy a glass of wine, three Western Michigan University students recently conjured up an award-winning marketing proposal for California winemaker Robert Mondavi.

The students, who are all part of WMU's Food Marketing Program in the Haworth College of Business, captured second place in a national case competition sponsored by the Food Distribution Research Society. Kevin Horn of Holland, Mich., Benjamin James of Hastings, Mich., and Meryl Job of Buffalo, N.Y., bested competitors from around the nation with their plan to increase sales and profit growth for the Robert Mondavi Family of Wines.

A representative from the Napa Valley-based winemaker was among the judges who recognized the students' work earlier this month at the competition in Phoenix. Their plan included developing new trial-size bottles of wine, nicknamed "Mondavi Miniatures;" creating a unique opening system that still used a cork but allowed customers to access the bottle without a corkscrew; increasing charitable sponsorships; and implementing two advertising campaigns encouraging consumers to enjoy "Mondavi Minutes" and incorporate the wine into their celebrations.

The competition's Mondavi case, a new Harvard Business School case typically used in graduate courses, was announced in mid-September. WMU staged an on-campus face-off for five groups of students, narrowing the field to two teams that progressed to the national event. The University's second team placed fourth in the national competition. Those team members, who are all seniors, were Corey Adams of North Adams, Mich., Timothy Hughes of Naperville, Ill., Justin Skopec of Niles, Mich., and Sebastian Williams of Portage, Mich.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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