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Drake, Creighton, and Nike team up for inaugural Murphy Cup competition

April 16, 2014

The CBPA joined forces with Creighton University’s Heider College of Business in February for the first annual Murphy Cup—a student marketing competition.

The brainchild of Chris Murphy, JO’79, and a member of Creighton’s board of trustees, this event was about collaboration as much as competition. Rather than universities pitted against each other, six teams comprised of senior marketing majors from both universities undertook the marketing challenge.

“I can honestly say that all of the students were top notch,” says Andrew Norman, associate professor of marketing at Drake and one of the event’s organizers. “Their marketing knowledge, creativity, and presentation skills were stellar across the board.”

Drake University will host the 2015 Murphy Cup in Des Moines. For more information, contact Andrew Norman at 515-271-2758.

About one week prior to the event, the teams were given two Harvard Business School case studies based on Nike, Inc., the event’s corporate sponsor.

“It was Chris Murphy’s strong desire for the case competition to be based on a ‘live’ company and real-time information,” says Norman. “That led us to pursue Nike as the subject.”

Nike jumped on board, sending Abby Bruning, global merchandising director of women’s sportswear; Laura Arneson, digital coordinator for emerging markets; and Macy Korver, global running merchandising associate, to Omaha, Nebraska, to present the challenge to the teams. The students were tasked with developing a plan to leverage Nike’s social media presence.

They had less than 24 hours to prepare recommendations.

On the following day, each team delivered a 20-minute presentation to Nike executives, including Jayme Martin (vice president and general manager for global categories at Nike), and Mary Ann O’Brien (founder and CEO of OBI Creative in Omaha), and John Marshall (principal of SilverStone Group of Omaha), BN’97, who was one of the generous donors for the event.

Awards for first place and runner-up were presented (with team members taking home cash), as well as four individual awards. Drake’s Stephanie Esker took home an individual award for “Most Knowledgeable Contributor.”

Blake Miller and Mackenzie Russo from Drake, and Kelcy Perkins and Jacob Schwaegler from Creighton landed first place. Their team proposed an additional website called Nike Connect that would put more of an emphasis on connecting the company with the consumer. Members recommended launching with a competition called #SixSeconds, where consumers could upload Vine videos of themselves doing something athletics-related. The winning video would be featured on SportsCenter’s “Top 10.”

“As a senior marketing major, I can honestly say this is my favorite extracurricular activity I’ve done at Drake,” says Miller. “Not only was the event a blast, but it directly related to what I hope to do in my career. I made some new friends and gained marketing knowledge from employees at a relevant and exciting company.”

While Miller does not have any immediate plans following graduation, he hopes to work for an advertising agency or in a marketing department developing strategy. Miller says his experience at the Murphy Cup further developed his interest in working for a consumer-product company like Nike.

Miller, Esker, Russo, and the other Drake participants—Sia Ekonomou, Keaton Hewitt, Chase Hoff, Chad Howard, April Ko, Sarah Murray, Melissa Roberts, Nicholas Rogers, and Claire Vandercar—were nominated by Drake marketing faculty to participate in the competition.

“Experiences like this in college are truly priceless,” says Miller. “I would strongly recommend participating in the Murphy Cup to any marketing major who has
the opportunity.”