A talented group of 13 college students joined The Mars Agency’s annual internship program this summer to hone their skills while getting their first taste of agency life.
Every year, each intern works with one or more mentors on a specific team or piece of business, providing them with the experience to apply their academic interests within an agency environment. Additionally, they are assigned a real project from one of our clients to work on as a group. This year, the group collaborated on the activation strategy for a new product from a food-focused client with the goal of targeting a younger, health-conscience audience.
After receiving the goal for the project, the group divided their approach into four sections: the ask, strategy, creative concept, and media activation. Through this approach, the interns had to pull from their learnings gained from working across the agency on multiple teams and come together for the real-life experience of building a product strategy. This approach allowed the group to research and understand the target audience, learn how to reach this audience, craft engaging visuals to capture their attention, and develop ways to make the product stand out on digital and physical shelves.
The interns identified the audience as Gen Z and Millennials (ages 18-34) who are looking for delicious, fresh, and healthy meals. “When they think of a healthy option, they are often not thinking about the center aisles and, instead, think of a grocery store as having the fresh food on the outskirts,” said intern Harper Aumock, when presenting the project on an agency-wide call. “So it is our job to get them to the center store in order to get them purchasing and trying [this product].”
The group dove into the research around this age group to identify their needs and views on health. The interns found that 77% of “Zillennials” consistently look for new ways to live a healthy life, with searches on Google for “gut health” in particular up by 83% recently.
However, one of the barriers they face in implementing healthier choices is caused by work-life balances: while 90% noted the importance of maintaining long-term commitments to friends and loved ones, 57% found juggling family and work demands very stressful.
With all of these insights in mind, the intern group had to ensure that the product would be easy for shoppers to integrate into their lives by developing a campaign that would highlight how the ingredients improve overall wellness.
For the activation, they looked both nationally and across key retailers including Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon, and considered how they could capture the target shopper in three moments: when they’re online, when they’re shopping, and when they’re enjoying the product.
Tactics for the online consumer included targeted digital ads, shoppable recipes, strategic partnerships, and livestream shopping. For targets who might be shopping online or in-store, the interns identified omnichannel tactics such as in-store displays and special signage, coupons, retailer-specific pages, and sponsored search ads. Finally, when the consumer is sitting down and enjoying the product, they can be reengaged through packaging design that includes QR codes leading to a sweepstakes.
From the depth of their research to strategizing the product launch, this intern group showed a high-level of critical thinking, creativity, and drive. We’re thrilled with the work they accomplished and are looking forward to finding the product on the shelves in the future.
“We’ve been conducting this internship program for a long time and, without a doubt, I think this is certainly one of the best projects ever — if not the best,” commented Rob Rivenburgh, Global CEO of The Mars Agency, after hearing the group’s presentation.
Reflecting on her experience with the summer internship program, Naomi Madu said, “We’ve gained so much knowledge about the industry, but one of the most important experiences has been our collaboration as a team. In this virtual environment, it’s definitely been challenging, but we’ve been able to build connections and work efficiently in a remote workplace.”
Learn more about each of our summer interns and the program here. We’ll begin accepting intern applications for our 2023 program in December via the Careers page on TheMarsAgency.com.