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U of M Advertising Students Help Ford Motor Co. Promote Its Fiesta Automobile

For release: November 20, 2010
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901/678-2843

Eight University of Memphis seniors are assisting Ford Motor Company in marketing the automaker’s new Fiesta automobile. From Dr. Sandra Utt’s advertising class, they are one of three groups participating in the Ford internship program. The other groups are from Vanderbilt University and Mississippi State University.

A commercial that the students filmed and produced was seen by 19,000 Tiger basketball fans during Memphis Madness, when it was played on the Jumbotron at the FedEx Forum.

Their next step in the campaign is a photo contest, ongoing through Nov. 12th, with the theme, “Where Would You Go With Your Fiesta?” Daily prizes are being awarded, and an Apple iPad will be the final grand prize.

Credit: Creation Studios, Memphis.
Credit: Creation Studios, Memphis. Bottom row, left to right, are Joe Walz, Dr. Sandra Utt, Frank Hanlon, and Martina Igberaese, all of Memphis. Top row, left to right, are Jeremy Kyle Houston, Oakland; Tameisha Vaughn, Gallatin; Brittney Block, Millington; Ali Boone, Memphis; and Kendyl Mauney, Collierville Kevin Keenmon of Memphis is also a member of
the group, but is not in the photo.

The students have worked with Retail First, Team Detroit to implement a social media campaign to increase awareness of the new car. They were responsible for research, submitting proposals, managing a budget, and implementing their ideas via social media, as well as hosting special events to drive traffic to the social media.

Working with Learfield Communications and Tiger Sports Properties, they purchased various types of media which were used at Memphis Madness, along with the filmed commercial shown on the FedEx Forum’s Jumbotron.

Dr. Utt said this experience is different from anything her students have done before, because they’re actually executing their plan. They’re getting to put to the test all the knowledge they’ve gained from their classes thus far in their college career. They are actually living the University’s motto, ‘Dreamers. Thinkers. Doers.’ ”

“Nobody involved in the project will get a prize or any compensation from it,” Utt said, but the students are getting wonderful experience in designing and executing an advertising campaign. That experience will prove invaluable when they graduate and enter the ‘real world’ of advertising.”

Ford Fiesta
Ford Fiesta “parked” outside Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis.
Students express the same enthusiasm for the project and its value to their education as Utt does. Jeremy Houston, a second year graduate student working with the group, said “It’s been really refreshing to see a group of students come together as a team and execute their ideas with knowledge and talent. They are very resourceful, and they seem to really enjoy creating the campaign and making it come to life.”

The undergraduates agreed that the experience was invaluable to their education and their future careers. “The hands-on experience went far beyond that of your average internship,” said Kevin Keenmon.

The project has also taught the group some of life’s lessons, the ones not always learned from books or in classrooms. “The project has been challenging,” said Ali Boone. “We learned how to work with tight constraints and unexpected twists and turns, yet still come out successful.”

Joe Waltz and Brittney Block agreed. “It was a great opportunity to learn about the industry, and how to adjust when everything doesn’t go as planned,” Waltz said.

Echoed Block, “The Ford Fiesta project taught me to be detail-oriented – and flexible,” she said.

Examples of their work can be seen at the following website:

More information is available from Dr. Sandra Utt at 901-678-4795 or via email at

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