At the beginning of the day whoever is leading Towne asks the students what to do if a product is selling out quickly, “raise the price!” is usually the general consensus. But then they’re asked what to do if a product isn’t selling that doesn’t involve changing the price, Towne citizens are sometimes stumped. The answer is to advertise.
Fortunate for the students, there are a number of shops in Towne that help them do this. Back at school they are tasked with coming up with a name for their business. Some of my favorites have been “Container Bros,” “Radio-active,” and “ASAP Mail,” the latter driving our parcel carriers that day to extreme efficiency. In addition to establishing their business name, they have to make marketing materials for their business, which they then use in Towne.
- At school they write a 30 second commercial.
- In Towne the commercial is filmed in front of a green screen and is screened during lunch time.
- For many students it is there big screen debut, but you’d never know with the confidence they exude talking about their products.
- At school they create a catchy sound bite.
- In Towne, radio djs read the business slogans in between playing songs. Sometimes these change in the afternoon to announce sold out products or price changes. Occasionally these are performed as a jingle, which is always great (and definitely ups revenue!).
- At school businesses hand-draw ads with their business logo.
- In Towne Ad-Agents work hard to scan hand drawn ads into the computer, featured on two pages of the printed paper.
Sign and Print
- At school shop managers fill out forms with the specifics of what their business signs should look like.
- In Towne graphic artists use a feature on the websites to create signs, which are then colored in by the designers and displayed in front of each store front.
These various avenues for advertising enable students to understand that a successful marketing plan includes a multi-pronged approach. We encourage them to go beyond these traditional means of advertising and think outside the box. It’s incredible seeing the creative things these kids can come up with, whether it’s juggling their product outside the storefront or offering a buy-one get-one special, their determination to pay back their bank loans by selling enough product is usually palpable.
Oftentimes our parent volunteers chose to help out in shops that correlate with their field of work. It’s not uncommon to have a nurse or a doctor explaining the x-rays to the students working in the medical center, or to have CPAs advising the kids in the investment center. Why restrict this melding of what happens in Towne and the real world to the day-of-towne? Some teachers bring in members of the community to help teach some of their lessons, oftentimes through inventive means. At Young Americans we pride ourselves on the fact we give kids a ‘real world’ experience, but consider bringing the real world to them in the classroom first.