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Press Release


February 16, 2012

Students Get Hands-On Experience with Startup Company Founded by UNM Graduate

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-The University of New Mexico (UNM) is one of 12 schools throughout the country participating in the startUP productions Marketing Challenge. Students in digital marketing, a new course offered by the Anderson School of Management and the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program, have created an in-class, working marketing agency. The agency is responsible for researching, implementing and evaluating an integrated marketing campaign aimed at increasing awareness and registered users for zaahahSM among the university target market and surrounding Albuquerque community. Participating campuses will be competing for the chance to present their creative ideas to startUP productions executives at the term's conclusion.

This spring, marketing and film students from UNM have a rare opportunity to put their education to work in the real world with a startup company, while gaining valuable social media experience. Students will begin by conducting research to find out more about the target market. After they have analyzed their research findings, they will create and implement their strategy for reaching the target market while achieving the client's goals. Students receive a $3,000 budget to develop and execute the campaign. At the end of the term, students will conduct post-campaign research to measure their success and give a formal presentation to the client summarizing their campaign and results.

"Employers are increasingly interested in employing graduates with training in real world application, not just textbook theory," said Professor John Benavidez. "Participation in education-industry programs such as this one will give our students an edge in today's competitive job market."

Developed by startUP productions, zaahah is an integrated online desktop and social search environment that is a transformative experience for users. zaahah integrates the user experience spanning search, social, commerce and community. It is the first solution to improve user productivity enabling collaboration. Users are able to view anonymous profiles of other users searching on the same topic and will be able to chat, email and Skype with each other. More information about zaahah can be found at

The founder of Philadelphia based startUP productions and the driving force behind zaahah is James Sisneros. He is responsible for business development, product strategy and development, recruitment and any activity related to building startUP. James has over 20 years of sales and business development experience, and extensive experience working with startups and recruiting top talent as the founder of Launch Executive Consultants. A native New Mexican, James earned a B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of New Mexico in 1990.

For further inquiries regarding the University of New Mexico's participation in the startUP productions Marketing Challenge, please contact Jordan Olivas at (505) 273-1132 or

About Rick and Debbie Johnson Marketing Center

The Rick and Debbie Johnson Marketing Center is dedicated to creating transformational learning experiences for students. Located at the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management, the state-of-the-art studio and collaborative learning facility provides marketing students access to the same tools used by multinational, advertising and media companies to conduct in-depth analysis of markets, and develop, implement and evaluate campaigns. Amenities in the 500 square-foot facility include six workstations with specialized graphic design and research software, WiFi, digital audio and video recorders, video teleconferencing, and a video-data projection system.

The center is named in honor of the couple who started the Rick Johnson and Company advertising agency in Albuquerque, N.M. in the 1970s and beat all the odds by making it one of the top firms in the Western United States. For more information, the public can visit or email

About startUP productions

Based in Philadelphia, startUP productions, llc is an emerging Internet company committed to transforming users' Internet experience by creating a truly integrated social search platform. This platform is zaahah -the Ďaha' moment of search. zaahah enables users to collaborate across any site, including: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Bing, AOL, ASK, LinkedIn and, of course, zaahah. Furthermore, zaahah will greatly improve user productivity by enabling users to manage their search activity in the same manner they organize their lives.

About EdVenture Partners

EdVenture Partners is an organization dedicated to developing innovative industry-education partnership programs. The objective of such programs is to provide hands-on, real-world experience to students in tandem with providing marketing solutions and recruiting access at colleges and universities to clients. EdVenture Partners has designed and managed programs at over 1,000 campuses in North America and internationally. Find out more at


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.