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January 14, 2020
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Brandcenter Hosts Second Annual Sprint Competition

The Brandcenter was buzzing with student activity last weekend before Spring 2020 classes even kicked off.

Second year students had the opportunity to pitch real client work as part of the second annual Brandcenter Sprint: a four-day innovation+design competition in which students team up to tackle real brand problems. This year, student teams were split amongst two clients: Coors Light and Buffalo Wild Wings (represented by The Martin Agency). Both companies make generous donations to the Brandcenter scholarship fund.

“The most progressive agencies and companies in our industry are experimenting with non-traditional team pairings, compressed timelines, and ‘start-up like’ pitch formats. We’re doing the same through this sprint model,” says Ashley Sommardahl, Senior Director of Academic and Student Affairs.

Students were briefed by the clients on Thursday, January 9, then given the weekend to report to their designated team “war rooms” to brainstorm solutions and design the pitch. Faculty and alumni were assigned to teams as advisors, giving feedback and suggestions throughout the weekend.

"It was great for the students to learn how to work with a big brand under such a tight time frame, because that's what the industry demands,” says Michael Mullen, VCU Brandcenter professor and faculty advisor to the winning Coors Light team. “The quick turnaround also opened up students to go beyond their specific tracks to be active idea-generators and storytellers, proving that titles aren't meant to constrict, but to liberate."

Final presentations to the clients took place throughout the day on Monday, January 13, and the winners were announced by the client immediately following. On the Coors Light side, the winning team was Jessica Fatherly (XD), Treasure Brown (XD), Severin Didricksen (ST), Halle Nurse (CBM), Bonni Dinerstein (ST) and Edward Beckwith, an MBA student at the VCU School of Business.

The Buffalo Wild Wings Sprint winners were Melissa Poe (XD), Sam Pietrzak (XD), Louis Boehling (XD), Mareya Stearns (XD), Madison McCracken (ST) and Rachel Curry (CW).

“The Sprint was a great experience that I would do again,” says Treasure Brown. “I loved the energy that my team brought. We honestly had no expectations of winning, so when we did it super exciting and it felt surreal.”