It's a best-case scenario: AAA Northeast aims to appeal to Gen Z with a new product, and Bryant undergraduates — all within that target demographic — spent a semester conceptualizing the best approach to reach them as part of Marketing 201's Corporate Case Challenge competition.
The challenge, a signature component of the introductory Marketing course, plays a vital role in exposing Bryant business students to the wider world of commerce, says Marketing Professor Keith Murray, Ph.D.
"Otherwise, business education would be limited to textbooks and lectures, which are fine but insufficient in preparing leaders for tomorrow’s challenges," says Murray. "Alongside our corporate partners, we bring a new and vital aspect to the professional preparation of our graduates not frequently found in other programs or institutions."
On December 13, twelve teams of undergraduates, split into two classrooms in the Academic Innovation Center, presented fast-paced marketing strategies for "AAA Everyday," a product for younger members who may not require roadside assistance. Instead, the program leans into deals that appeal to the Gen Z lifestyle.
"We wanted to make sure we were able to impact not only travel but also entertainment and dining," says Brian Inger '26, a Finance major. Inger and his teammates, Matt Fiore '25 and Paxton Hughes '26, pitched a positioning strategy with VIP experiences, partnerships with trendy food businesses, celebrity endorsements, and digital-first marketing campaigns to reach their target audience. The team, from Marketing Lecturer Mehreen Pasha's Marketing 201 course, took first place in their room.
The additional first-place team — Brian Kotalik '26, Dylan Lemay '26, Larissa Lusso '26, Ava Maneca '26, Bridget McConnell '26, and Tiernan Lathrop '26, from Professor Stefanie Boyer, Ph.D.'s Marketing 201 course — built their data-driven pitch around the Everyday Fairy, a fairy godmother mascot who would "Meet You All the Way." Both first-place teams earned $500 awards, with $300 and $200 awards for second- and third-place winners, respectively.
"We were impressed with the students who participated in the Corporate Case Challenge. They brought fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to help market our new product, AAA Everyday," says Lisa Melton, chief marketing officer for AAA Northeast. "We’re appreciative of the partnership we’ve established with Bryant University, as it allows us to tap into the thinking of the future AAA Northeast member."
Melton, who served as a case challenge judge alongside five of her AAA Northeast marketing colleagues, also emphasized the role such competitions play in the AAA/Bryant career pipeline.
"Knowing that Bryant is focused on preparing students for success in their careers, we also hope to identify and attract potential future AAA Northeast employees," she says.