The Associate: Week Six


This week differed from previous boardroom sessions of as two of the candidates, Justina Whyte and Nicholas Price did not move on in The Associate competition. Advancing to the next round, Allison Murray and myself were presented with the final case from McCormick and Company. It was quite fitting that the final case was on Grill Mates, a sub-brand designed specifically for grilled foods since the entire competition was sponsored by McCormick and Company.

The objective for this case was:

  • Who should the primary consumer be for Grill Mates?

Key questions included, but were not limited to:

  • Should the primary consumer be the male user or the female purchaser?
  • What should the ratio be between the primary and secondary target audiences?
  • How can Grill Mates drive awareness with the selected target audience outside of traditional advertising?

    We were asked to develop a media strategy that would deliver the greatest awareness impact among the recommended target for Grill Mates. After conducting an extensive amount of research online, viewing statistics about male and female purchasing habits, observing consumer behaviors, and discussing the topic with industry experts I came to the conclusion to define my target audience as two-thirds female and one-third male. My challenge was how to overcome the majority of grillers who are used to wet grilling products. I devised a marketing strategy to promote the Grill Mates product in the mind of consumers. While it can be difficult to persuade a loyal buyer to try a new brand, it is easier to convince someone that there are enhancements which will deliver a better, more polished product. Due to the fact that 4 out of every 5 users are applying wet grilling products, it would be best to introduce them to an enhanced grilling experience by layering products on as they grill. I used a themed approach of “shake it on, or mix it in” informing the consumer that they can simply shake on the Grill Mates product to create a delectable entrée, or they can mix it in with their favorite sauce or marinade.

    My recommendations included:

    • In-store changes (coupons, in-store displays, placement of products, samples on Lawry’s products) to increase volume sales in the store
    • An online survey to make sure all McCormick shoppers are familiar with the product line
    • Celebrity partnerships with Bobby Flay and Stephanie March to represent both the female and the male audience. This also demonstrated that behind every avid griller is a woman who can be used for support
    • An online community for users to find recipes, tips, videos, recommended tools, discussion boards, and sweepstakes
    • Fantasy football advertising

    We were grilled (no pun intended) with a series of questions after the presentations. However, the judging panel provided both Allison and myself with respective feedback on our presentations, which were both overwhelmingly positive. Being the final case, the competition will soon end and one of us will hear the fortunate words “you’re hired.”

    Please provide your thoughts on this case and follow the rest of the competition on the College of Business and Economics’ website.



    Published by Dov Hoffman

    Account Director - Havas Helia | VP Programming + Past President - AMA Baltimore | Towson University - Alumni

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