OMAHA – It's a great example of how the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) collaborates with businesses and organizations to prepare students for careers that they will love.
Students from UNO and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) stretched their creative muscles at the first ever Yahoo Advertising Knock-out, held Thursday Nov. 17 and Friday, Nov. 18.
The competition kicked off with the students being split into teams of four at Yahoo's Dodge location, each team representing both universities.
Organizers presented the students with a challenge: how do we get more people playing Yahoo Fantasy Football? Each team was given a hypothetical $2 million budget to identify target audiences and create a marketing plan.
With the clock ticking, students started brainstorming, trying to come up with a solution that would impress a panel of university faculty, Yahoo employees, and other area professionals. No pressure.
Students drew on their knowledge of public relations, social media, campaign strategy, and media buying to create their plans. Some worked late into the night.
Presentations kicked off the next morning at UNO. While each team impressed the judges, only one could take first place in the contest.
The bragging rights went to Joe Franco (UNO), Elizabeth Stevens (UNO), Megan Nelson (UNL), and Hannah Paxton (UNL). The students' solution involved using social media and a partnership with Amazon's Alexa to encourage families to use the Yahoo Fantasy Football app.
Coming in at a close second: April Knipp (UNO), Amy Nielsen (UNO), Haley Schepers (UNL), and Linsey Armstrong (UNL). The team proposed taking Yahoo Fantasy Sports to the office, to promote inter-office collaboration. Their plan included a Yahoo Fantasy Football kit that could be provided to companies.
Organizers say each group had remarkable ideas. Yahoo hopes to run the contest again next year, and it's a safe bet that UNO will once again be involved.
School of Communication Director Hugh Reilly praised the competition for providing students with a chance to work directly with a major company like Yahoo, and interact with UNO alumni working for the company.
"This is just a wonderful opportunity for our students," Reilly said. "It’s as close to the real world as it’s going to get."
A write up by Yahoo! about the experience can also be found here.