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Press Release


June 13, 2005

(Albuquerque, NM) It wasn’t exactly the popular TV show The Apprentice, but a group of students at the University of New Mexico’s (UNM) Anderson Schools of Management (ASM) who entered a national case study contest took top honors in a task that rivaled the show’s for creativity and competition. More than 50 teams, including 28 undergraduate and 23 MBA teams from colleges and universities nationwide, competed in the Cadillac National Case Study competition.

UNM’s MBA team beat out entries from American University, University of California--Los Angeles, Tulane University, University of Mississippi, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Iowa, and others, netting them a grand prize of $3,000, which will go to the University. UNM’s undergraduate team advanced to the second round and a top-10 finish.

“This competition allowed students to use what they have learned in the classroom to tackle a real marketing challenge faced by one of the premiere automotive brands in the U.S.,” said ASM Lecturer and team mentor John Benavidez. “All of our students worked very hard on their marketing plans and their national recognition is well deserved.”

The competition consisted of three rounds. The first round narrowed the field to 10 undergraduate teams and five MBA teams. The second round identified the top two teams at each level. The final round took the form of a formal presentation in front of Cadillac officials and representatives from Cadillac's advertising agency, Chemistri. Finalists received an all-expense paid trip to Detroit, Michigan for the presentation. The first and second place winners at each level were determined after the presentations and were announced on May 25.

The MBA team that traveled to Detroit included Daniel Abeyta, Don Brunton, Kelly Cowan, Nelmy Jerez-Morales, and Michelle Woodland. UNM’s undergraduate team included Kimberly Gonzales, Justin Gillespie, Christa Marney, Jade Rennels and Matt Shurtliff.

The teams’ objective was to help Cadillac break through to the baby boomer generation, capitalizing on recent revival efforts that have helped the company reclaim its historical reputation for achievement and success. The size of the boomer generation and its relative affluence make it a critical target in the market.

As part of the competition, teams conducted primary and secondary research to understand the problems Cadillac faces. Based on that research, they then designed a Cadillac marketing plan to address those challenges and to further reestablish Cadillac as a top-tier luxury contender. The plans covered advertising, events/promotions, sponsorships, interactive, emerging media, grassroots programs and customer retention/brand experience programs.

The MBA teams were asked to focus more specifically on female baby boomers as their target audience. Alone among the contestants, UNM’s MBA team identified two segments of boomers: Leading Edge (born between 1946 and 1954) and Trailing Edge (born between 1955 and 1964). The team then crafted distinct messages for the two groups: a “reclaim the luxury" tagline communicated through nostalgic advertisements for Leading Edge boomers and a "luxury redefined" tagline communicated through information advertisements for Trailing Edge boomers.

In addition to traditional advertising, the team recommended sponsorship of the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" campaign; displays of Cadillac vehicles at Curves gyms across the country; product placement in television shows popular with boomer women; and advertising on Web sites targeted at boomer women, including and

Students Kelly Baker, Kristina Lee and Dustin Sparks conducted market research for the project and also traveled to Detroit to support the team.

The case study was completed as part of course requirements for Benavidez’s Management 487: Promotion Management (undergrad) and Management 587: Marketing Communications Management (MBA) in collaboration with Dr. Catherine Roster’s Market Research class.


The Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico is dedicated to excellence in professional management education. At the Anderson School, faculty, staff, and students are committed to shaping the intellect and character of the next generation of business leaders, advancing the knowledge and practice of management, promoting economic development, and building a vibrant intellectual community that serves the highest and best interests of all our stakeholders.

The School was founded in 1947 and now offers more than a dozen concentrations at the BBA and MBA levels and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in the top 20% of business schools in the nation. The School is funded by the State of New Mexico and further support is generated by The Anderson School of Management Foundation. For more information, the public can visit, email, or call (505) 277-6471.