Move over, Mad Men - these HK students are masters of marketing for an Uber campaign


Students from seven schools were challenged by Uber to create a marketing campaign. Here is what they came up with ...

Ariel Conant |

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Students from Sha Tin College prepare their campaign.

Creating a marketing campaign for a major business is no easy task. Marketing professionals spend years studying trends and learning the ins and outs of successful strategies. But the Hong Kong students who competed in the 10th annual ESF Marketing Competition managed to outshine even the best marketing minds.

Two teams from each of the seven participating schools – Island School, King George V School, Renaissance College, Sha Tin College, South Island School, Discovery College and West Island School – competed on March 16 to impress this year’s sponsoring company, Uber Hong Kong.

The teams had to come up with marketing strategies for three different tasks, along with how to implement their plans.

Island School’s Team 2 reigned supreme, winning HK$500 Uber credits for each teammate along with gift bags from the company.

The winning Island School team.
Photo: Ariel Conant/SCMP

“Entering this competition we wanted to be creative and stand out from the other groups,” says team member Patrick So, 17. “For each task, our objective was to leave a positive impression on the judges, whether that was doing something funny or presenting them with a well-thought-out idea.”

“We started each task by going over the criteria and brainstorming the different areas we should cover, then we had a discussion as to how we would do the task, and who would be responsible for what,” explains teammate Nick Basford, also 17. “The biggest challenge was time management; we had less than an hour for each task, and the presentations had a time limit as well. If our presentations ran over, a bell would ring and we would be stopped.”

Tiff Tong, Thomas Biek, Patrick McGilivray and Daniel Ziengs, all aged 16, worked with Patrick and Nick to tackle the tasks.

They hit hard straight away with the first task, to create an advertising campaign to recruit female Uber drivers. “Our solution was to devise financial incentive and referral rewards to recruit other female drivers,” explains Patrick. “Once female drivers become more comfortable with Uber, it [being a part of Uber] will become a routine.”

Renaissance College were runners-up.
Photo: Ariel Conant/SCMP

Nick agrees that it was the team’s best strategy of the day. “Our motto was ‘Be Empowered. Be Uber’, and we targeted a range of women, from young mothers who could drive multiple children to school and middle-aged women or housewives who have spare time and want to put money aside for themselves or their families, to retired women who may want to meet new people and explore Hong Kong while making money,” Nick says.

Competition was fierce, with Renaissance College’s Team 2 coming a close second.

Renaissance’s Marcus Chui, 17, along with 16-year-olds Melory So, Cheryl Man, Tiffany Yu, Brian Lee and Leo Wong, all felt the first task was their strongest.

Taking a different approach, the team came up with a tiered driver loyalty programme, with bonus incentives at each level, such as discounts for child tuition to target female homemakers returning to work.

The teams adopted a wide variety of impressive strategies for each of the tasks, each tackling the marketing issue head on. From Renaissance College’s seven-day Instagram campaign to encourage ride-sharing, to Island School’s funny YouTube advert, the day was filled with creativity and friendly – but fierce – competition.

As for Island School’s Team 2, they were
so thrilled they even forgot to collect the
grand prize.

“After being announced as the winners, we got our photos taken and were given Uber goodie bags,” says Patrick. “However, amid all the excitement, we left the event without collecting our grand prize from Uber!”

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