Three Seniors End Their Year With Huffy Bike Competition Win
Seniors Chris DeCaro, Tran Hoang and Anchal Gugliani ended their final undergraduate
year in triumph. The trio competed in the Huffy Bike Competition, during which they
created an extensive marketing campaign for the bike company and took home first
place. They received $1,000 to donate to a charity of their choice and each student
received a brand new bike and invaluable experience creating the campaign.
“I thought it was cool to see a project go from beginning to end. We were given
a problem and had to narrow it down to exactly how we wanted to solve it,” DeCaro
The team’s marketing plan was designed to market Huffy bikes to college students.
They developed a multi-step plan based around the idea that if students ride their
bikes instead of walking, they would be able to do more.
“Our slogan was ‘Huffy go fast,’ and the idea was that with a Huffy bike you
can go fast and live the college life,” DeCaro, a marketing and information systems
double major, said. DeCaro explained that he rides his bike across campus and that
he wouldn’t be able to participate in all of his activities without it. He wanted
to portray that need in the campaign.
“We’ve seen other successful marketing campaigns, like the Old Spice Guy, Keith
Stone, and Dos Equis – they are the personalities that college students like to
dress up as for Halloween. So we created a character called ‘That Guy’ who is that
guy on campus who does everything: He is on the hip hop dance team, he goes fishing,
he’s in 10 fraternities, he does krumping,” DeCaro explained. “He’s that guy everyone
can relate to and the only way he’s able to do it all is because he has a Huffy
In addition to “That Guy,” the team created the idea for a purchasing plan and
a mobile app. The plan began with introducing the bikes to freshmen before they
came to campus. The team decided to present bikes as a need, just like bed risers,
mini refrigerators and laptops.
Once they were introduced to the idea of a bike, freshmen would be able to compete
in a video submission contest auditioning to be “That Guy,” and the winner would
receive a free Huffy bike.
Finally, when a student is ready to purchase his or her bike, the Huffy bike
would entice them further with its affordability and a charitable donation to a
local bike-related charity. They would get a free mobile app for purchasing the
Huffy that would show them the fastest routes on campus, comparing walking time
versus biking time.
“A 20-minute walk is only three or four minutes on a bike. The bike is the most
time efficient and cost efficient compared to driving, taking the bus and walking,
and we wanted out campaign to show that,” Hoang said.
DeCaro demonstrated this efficiency as well: “We wanted to show that biking is
the fastest mode of transportation in most cases. So, I actually strapped a camera
to my head and said, ‘Here’s the bus, and here’s me.’ I raced the bus and got to
our destination a minute and a half before the bus did.”
The competition consisted of several rounds. First, the team had to present to
their electronic marketing class. Their professor, Bill Rand, selected his favorites,
and submitted them to Brunner, the agency running the marketing competition for
Huffy. DeCaro, Hoang and Gugliani were selected to represent the University of Maryland
and competed against other teams from Carnegie Mellon University and Dayton University.
The team walked away from the competition with $1,000, which they presented to
the American Cancer Society at a Relay for Life event at the university.
For DeCaro, the decision to donate to the American Cancer Society was a personal
one: “My mom is battling a brain tumor, so I thought it would be nice to donate
the money we won at the Relay for Life. My mom was excited about it and was really
happy that it was going on. She’s been doing a great job of dealing with all of
With the competition over and school ending, the team looks back on their win
as an impressive feat to have accomplished. While none of the teammates plan on
going into electronic marketing as a career, they enjoyed the experience the competition
presented and the sweet victory that culminated their senior year.
“I really enjoyed the creative freedom we were given. We were able to do whatever
we wanted with the marketing plan, which was different from our structured classes
with guidelines and rubrics,” Hoang, a marketing and supply chain double major,
said. “It was a great senior year top-off.”
Jessica Bauer, Writer and Editor, Office of Marketing Communications