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Idaho Falls Post Register


Who better to appeal to young people than other young people?

Such was the thinking when Idaho Falls Department of Parks and Recreation personnel collaborated with Compass Academy students to create marketing campaigns for the department's programs and services.

Students presented their work - some of which the city may actually use - to Parks and Recreation staff last week .

"We were really impressed; they did a good job," Parks and Recreation Director Greg Weitzel said. "Anytime we can get ideas from teens on ways to improve the department and what we can offer, we'll jump at that opportunity. That demographic is very hard to appeal to."

Logan Waetje's integrated marketing/English class - along with two others, 130 sophomores in all - was tasked with creating guerrilla marketing campaigns, typically characterized by low-cost, creative methods.

"The idea is finding ways to take the usual and make it unusual with marketing, to take everyday objects and make them interesting," Waetje said.

Sophomores split into groups of three or four to formulate ideas over a six-week period. Dozens of ideas were presented to Parks and Recreation officials last week.

One group focused on street lamps.

Students proposed turning some of them into flagpoles, giant versions of the type found at golf courses. At the bottom would be a soccer ball-sized golf ball with a message: "This hole is two miles from Pinecrest Municipal Golf Course. Do you think you can make the shot?"

The idea is to engage people not normally exposed to golf.

"We haven't seen a lot of unique advertising here," said Maya Redden, 15, who worked on the project. "You can see TV and radio ads, flyers. But we wanted to take advantage of the surprise aspect of someone walking along the street and seeing something like that and asking 'Why?'"

Other students went the more conventional billboard route with a campaign called "JK Facts." They created mock-up designs of animals and large-print, attention-grabbing fake facts - "Did you know? Lions only eat chicken nuggets." - with the real fact underneath in small print, and an invitation to learn more at the Idaho Falls Zoo.

Working on the marketing project was more enjoyable with an actual client in mind, said Ciera Heinrich, 16, who worked on the billboard idea.

"It was different than anything we did in our other classes. If we were just learning the concepts through a teacher talking, it would be boring. But to actually put those concepts in place was really interesting," she said.

Other students created smartphone applications. Some arranged scavenger hunts to lead people through the city's trail systems.

The department likely will look at using some of the billboard ideas, Weitzel said, among others.

Weitzel and Waetje are also open to next year's sophomores working on a similar project.

"That's how they're trained to think, and it was a good project because we've all been involved with Parks and Recreation in one way or another," Waetje said. "It was easy for them to understand how this can be used, and it created a sense of pride that their ideas and skills could be used to better Idaho Falls in some way."

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February 23, 2017


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