Apr 172005
Authors: Sarah Rawley

Old Town Square was alive and revved up all day and night Saturday with free music, games and prizes during the "Chevy Cobalt One Night Band Stand."

This event was the culmination of several CSU business students' marketing project, designed to change the perception of Chevrolet and unveil the Cobalt line of vehicles to Fort Collins.

The concert featured local bands Shadows of Glory, Something of Worth, The Haggardies, Liquid Courage, Zach Nichols, Brian Johansen and Ten After Eight, playing everything from acoustic tunes to Johnny Cash covers to alternative rock.

"The concert was designed to get progressively harder into the night to meet the needs of potential Chevy customers," said Craig Turney, a senior marketing major and member of the Ram Performance Marketing Published Reports, the title of the groups project.

The event featured interactive games in which participants had the opportunity to sit in a Chevy Cobalt and do a scavenger hunt or play "name that artist" for a chance to be entered for prizes distributed throughout the day.

DVD players were given away every hour, as well as snowboards, spa packages, and gym memberships, all donated by local businesses.

Free events for children, such as face painting and balloon animals, also lit up Old Town Square and KISN 96 was present to give away prizes and provide music between the bands different sets.

All the music, games, prizes and fun were a part of CSU marketing students'

project to draw as many people as possible into the Cobalt's seats. Their target demographic was 18- to 34-year-olds, but the concert and events drew people of all ages.

"Since we hit the college demographic on campus, we have been getting all ages out here. People love the music," said Patrick Riley, a junior marketing major. "During the day we got a lot more people into the cars, and at night we got people into the music."

An estimated 500 people looked at the cars Saturday, in addition to the approximate 2,400 from Wednesday and Thursday on campus. The goal of the on-campus promotion was to get people to come to Saturday's event.

"The event was on a bigger scale than most. Its goal was to get 250,000 impressions of Chevy and the car, and we've already succeeded that," said Julie Loustalet, program facilitator for the "Chevy Cobalt One Night Band Stand."

A class of 24 students was teamed up with Chevrolet by EdVenture Partners, an intermediary host that teams up universities with clients, and was given a $2,500 budget to design and implement a marketing strategy during the spring semester.

CSU was one of 25 campuses nationwide participating in the Chevrolet Marketing Internship program.

The students were challenged to come up with an original or "grassroots" campaign to draw people into the seats of the vehicles.

"They wanted an in-your-face, non-standard advertising in hopes of associating the Cobalt with something the demographic wants, so we chose music," Riley said.

As the event progressed it became clear that music was a good way to draw a large audience to check out the Cobalt.

"Having music is a good way to draw people. It's a perfect way to advertise and market for a car, because anyone can relate to music, and in a college town, free music is going to draw anyone," said Erin Ohnstad, a junior studio art major who attended the event.

People came to the event to just check out the free music and the energy was soaring all day into the night, Riley said.

"Brian Johansen was busting out covers of Johnny Cash and people loved it. The crowd for The Haggardies was awesome. Girls were jumping over the moat to get on stage and dance with them," Riley said.

The event ended with Ten After Eight and Shadows of Glory pumping the professional sound system with vibes of alternative rock and head bangers jumping around in front of the stage.

The marketing students also partnered with RamRide to host an informational booth and post-concert shuttles.

After an entire spring semester of hard work, anticipation and lack of sleep, the marketing class students were relieved when the event went off without a hitch.

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