SportsBiz Madness Case Study Competition: On to the Championship Round!

Thanks to our Judges!

An extra special thanks to Alex Dobson and Audible Design, an ad agency in Portland, for evaluating the Final Four round of our case study competition entries.  Leaning on the expertise of industry veterans with a long track record of success to evaluate this round of entries was invaluable.  Their feedback (read the post below for more) provides fantastic context for not only the four teams remaining in our competition, but also the students and teachers following along in their own classrooms.

Great stuff, thanks guys!

“Final Four” Competition Recap

After receiving nearly 60 entries for Sports Career Consulting’s inaugural “SportsBiz Madness” high school case study competition, we are left with just two teams.  The championship round is set, and we have an all East Coast finale.

In the previous round of this competition, our competitors were tasked with the development of an advertising campaign for New Balance to help the brand gain market share in the basketball market, leaning on one of the athletes who rep the brand (Kawhi Leonard) and the company’s new NBA sponsorship deal.  Teams were given a budget and a “rate card” (list of costs associated with each advertising medium), then asked to develop a promotional campaign to promote the brand.

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Case Study Competition 2020: The Final Four


As SCC’s case study competition moved into the head-to-head tournament round, remaining teams were asked to create a sponsor activation strategy tied to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo as Coca-Cola re-introduces its Orange Vanilla Coke flavor. Students were asked to prepare a strategy as if the games had not been postponed.

We were really impressed with all of the entries as each team demonstrated a very clear understanding of all the sports business principles outlined in this particular case study. Each team presented a very compelling call to action for fans through social activations, sponsor engagement and advertising campaigns.  Those who advanced, however, did the best job focusing on maximizing the impact of the sponsorship, recognizing the critical role activation plays in the ROI from sponsorship.

While we’re sad to see four more outstanding student groups eliminated from our competition, we are looking forward to seeing what the remaining teams bring to the table in response to our third case study.  The tournament’s next case study challenges students to effectively budget for an advertising campaign.  Stay tuned!


Wichita East High School (Kansas):

Pretty neat social media activation strategy to create a competition on Instagram in the lead up to the Games. Encouraging fans to post videos showing examples of how they are keeping active and staying fit (followed, of course, by taking a sip of Orange Vanilla Coke) is a great way to keep fans engaged while promoting the product. The strategy could definitely help provide a sales boost as well.

Overall, nice job Wichita East students!

Richardson High School (Texas):

Love the idea of “Olympic size” cardboard cutouts of athletes competing in the Tokyo Games as a way to attract the attention of shoppers in stores, providing photo opportunities creates a fantastic opportunity to not only increase product sales but also promote the brand through social media channels. Partnering with Usain Bolt and Simone Biles for sponsored Instagram posts will certainly maximize exposure.

Overall, great retail activation strategy by providing in-store Orange Vanilla Coke samples, positioned next to your cardboard display and creative packaging w/ special-edition 12-packs featuring commemorative cans. Well done Richardson High!

Downers Grove South (Illinois):

This was a great lead: “Coca-Cola is a worldwide staple, but in order to get consumers to try the new Orange Vanilla Coke, we’re going to need to get them to be different.” Great recognition of the challenge facing marketers with the launch of a new product.

Love the idea of creating a kind of “docu-series” featuring athletes that the brand has partnered with to tell their stories and give fans a feel-good connection to Orange Vanilla Coke. Smart idea to partner with athletes “with boldening stories to entice the consumer to be bold themselves, and try our new product.” The Twitter hashtag #BeBold is a great choice for the campaign. Nice work!

Flower Mound High School (Texas):

A couple of awesome ideas here, starting with the strategy to create a “mini-Olympics” competition with Coca-Cola themed obstacles in pop-up locations around the World as a way to introduce Orange Vanilla Coke in the months leading up the Tokyo Games. Staging mini-events in cities like London, NY and LA will most certainly attract consumer attention and help connect the brand to the excitement surrounding the Olympic Games. With a grand prize of fans competing in a final round taking place in Tokyo seems like a great way to encourage consumer participation.

Love the interactive idea of placing ads during the games that encourage fans to visit a Coca-Cola branded microsite to sign up for a chance for viewers to receive a drone delivery to their home to sample the new Orange Vanilla Coke flavor.

Last but not least, thought the social media strategy was brilliant. Nice to see you didn’t limit the campaign to just one social channel, makes sense to try to maximize reach by including Insta and Snap to reach younger fans but also promoting OVC through Facebook to reach an older demographic. Love the idea of staging a “best Orange Vanilla Coke” picture competition, and encouraging fans to “socialize” by asking them where their favorite place to drink OVC is, along with positing a photo, makes this a truly global campaign. Including Twitter polls will boost engagement as well.

Great job Flower Mound!


Downers Grove North High School – Period 6 (Illinois)

Tons of super strategies here… Great awareness of the value of giveaways. Stationing “street team” members at venues throughout the games to give away Orange Vanilla Coke t-shirts is a surefire way to generate enthusiasm for the new flavor, and it will turn fans into walking billboards for your product for the entirety of the Olympics.

Tickets, both in physical and e-ticket form, will feature Coke’s new product logo

And speaking of giveaways, love the idea of leveraging packaging as a tool for creating a sweepstakes type promotion by giving tickets away to fans through specially marked caps (also liked the idea of placing the logo on the physical and e-tickets). Taking it a step further, awesome idea to include experiences as part of the promotion, genius to reserve branded “Coca-Cola fan” space/areas during the Opening Ceremonies and Olympic venues. Love this: “This is where they can meet podium athletes from men’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming, women’s volleyball, and women’s gymnastics. While there, the winners can get autographs, take photos, and share an Orange Vanilla Coke with a gold medalist!” Overall, what a great way to boost product sales right out of the gate.

Another great packaging strategy to help activate your Olympic Games sponsorship is the inclusion of different flags for each of the participating countries on Orange Vanilla Coke. Levels of fandom are high throughout the games as fans demonstrate pride for their nation, connecting the brand to fan loyalty is a smart move. Developing a collector’s edition design for the cans is icing on the cake.

Social activation strategy was really good as well. The “Track the Truck” concept gives you a means for activating via mobile in more than one way…the mobile “Orange Vanilla Coke truck” fleet that will have a presence in major cities around the globe providing product samples and the mobile campaign tied to the trucks on Instagram and Snapchat platforms.

As described by Downers Grove North students, “Anyone who posts a selfie with the truck and uses the hashtag #trackthetruck can be featured on its Instagram and/or Snapchat story. These featured posts all have a location tag on them which will help people seek out these trucks. Each truck will be in a specific part of the world, as well as, one following the Olympic Torch.”

Fantastic job!!! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Pinelands Regional High School (New Jersey):

Love the idea of creating nationwide pop-up sampling stations in 20 cities and over 150 college campuses throughout the U.S. prior to the Tokyo Games. Given the global nature of the Olympics, really liked that the pop-ups would feature different Coke flavors from around the world.

Using Coca-Cola’s official YouTube Channel will be a great platform to extend the advertising messages, love the hashtag #CokeJourney from a storytelling perspective which is such a big part of what makes the Olympic Games so special. Nice overall mix of advertising to support your sponsorship of the 2020 Summer Games as well and not exhaust all your resources on digital, important to try to reach consumers through traditional channels like TV ads and outdoor. Great idea to diversify your advertising investment to maximize the sponsorship reach.

Love the packaging strategy as well by providing codes on specially marked packages of Orange Vanilla Coke that represent one of the five colored rings of the Olympic Games logo. Fun that, when a fan collects all five different colored rings, they will receive official Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games merchandise. Grand prize sounds awesome as well with an all-expense paid, private, guided tour of Coca-Cola in Atlanta…wonder if you could do some kind of viewing party with them during the Games as well? Also love the idea of featuring Olympic Games trivia questions on Orange Vanilla Coke bottles and including different flags from those countries competing in the Games.

Great idea for an on-site activation with the “Orange Vanilla Coke Victory Lounge” (described by Pinelands Regional students as “a luxurious suite for all Olympic athletes featuring flat screen TVs, memory foam seating, all you can eat food and Coca-Cola products).

Love the way you’ve tied together on-site strategies, packaging strategies etc. with your digital activations. Some highlights:

  • A spot outside the lounge for fans to take pictures taken with life-size
    cardboard cutouts of various Olympic athletes holding a bottle of Orange Vanilla Coke
  • Opportunities for fans to create Tik Toks outside the lounge using the Tik Tok dance you’ve created related to the release of the Orange Vanilla Coke, called the “O-Nilla Pop”
  • Providing Snapcode on coke bottles that fans scan on Snapchat, unlocking a “Coke Cam” filter that turns fans’ heads into a giant bottle of Coke, but an “Orange Vanilla Coke” when fans smile…Great concept, and in your words, “yes, this is a fun filter, but it is also a psychological effect causing customers to form a relationship with
    “smiling” and “Orange Vanilla Coke”.” That is next level Olympic thinking. 🙂

Overall, super job from students at Pinelands Regional High School. Good luck in the next round!

Downers Grove North – Period 1 (Illinois)

Great breakdown of the different ways your activation strategies will maximize ROI for the Olympic Games partnership…clearly a lot of thought went into the development of your activation strategies.

Love the idea of branded “Olympics Size” vending machines (10 feet tall) in and around downtown Tokyo, and connecting the campaign to a cause is a great strategy (proceeds from the sale of the vending machine are donated to Rise Against Hunger and machines will feature special “thank you” signage when consumers purchase Orange Vanilla Coke)

Interesting idea to introduce a “My Rewards with Orange Vanilla Coke” program to build brand loyalty and offering a chance to win Olympic Games tickets to with a scannable code inside the cap of any Orange Vanilla Coke product. Great idea to promote the rewards program through TV ads highlighting Olympic athletes drinking the new flavor and explaining how the program works and how fans can win prizes.

Super fun idea to create a giant “bright orange and white” branded water slide in a high-traffic area (“epicenter of the Olympics”) to draw the attention of Olympic fans, nice touch to provide free samples at the bottom of the slide (smart idea to encourage fans to post videos and pictures on social media as well).

Great job. Good luck in the Final Four round!

Tappan Zee High School (New York):

So many fantastic ideas here. Great job recognizing how much clutter marketers must cut through to reach consumers and good idea to share statistical evidence to support that lead statement (the average individual sees 4,000-10,000 ads a day).

Love the idea of leveraging the popularity of Coca-Cola’s app to activate the Tokyo Olympics sponsorship and maximize visibility of Orange Vanilla Coke throughout the Games. Clever idea to change the color of the app logo to orange during the Olympics, and providing double product points to fans purchasing the product (and offers to unlock coupons) will not only boost engagement levels on the app but also increase sales.

Interesting idea to have an email campaign to encourage fans to sign up for Coca-Cola emails as “VIP subscribers”, cool idea to have emails sent from Olympic athletes thanking customers and providing them with a special offer to buy one 4 pack of Orange Vanilla Coke, get one free, with a sticker and lanyard included in their purchase.

Also, really liked the idea partnering with the Leukemia Society. Providing cancer survivors and fighters merchandise and tickets to the Olympics is a great idea for a cause related campaign tied to the Orange Vanilla Coke product rollout, and it works well with the Leukemia ribbon which is also orange.

Smart strategy to partner with Steph Curry, clearly you did some research by recognizing he already has a strong presence in Tokyo after going on a Tokyo tour last year and basketball is typically one of the most talked-about events at the Summer Games. Fun idea to offer limited addition USA Basketball merchandise in an orange colorway during the Games.

Great strategy for reaching your target audience by staging a youth basketball contest through social media. Encouraging young fans (open to any basketball team with players ages 8-16) to post videos showing how much they love the game of basketball, and Orange Vanilla Coke, for a chance to win prizes is a pretty cool idea…and a grand prize of a chance to shoot baskets pre-game on the court at the Olympic games as well as sitting in on a team practice and exchanging high-fives with players would certainly motivate fans to participate. Experience-based marketing can be a very effective tool for connecting with consumers.

Last but not least, great sampling strategy. Love the idea of pop-ups all over Tokyo in the lead up to the games, and providing samples at area hotels when they are all at capacity during the Olympics will certainly get the product in front of consumers.

Really, really well done. Great job, can’t wait to see your response to the next case study!


Best of luck to the four remaining student teams from Downers Grove North High School in Illinois, Tappan Zee High School in New York and Pinelands Regional High School in New Jersey! Here is an updated look at the bracket for SCC’s 2020 SportsBiz Madness Case Study Tournament.