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Saturday, May 18, 2024

National brands look to students for marketing

As some UW-Madison students frantically search for summer internships with national companies, others already represent some brands through a unique, peer-to-peer advertising agency. 


RepNation, an advertising company known for finding creative ways to reach media consumer groups, currently employs UW-Madison students. 


The company began as one of the media's lead marketing agencies, Mr. Youth, but converted into RepNation in 2006.  

Today, RepNation prides itself on using unconventional media tactics to reach consumers. It looks to college students to promote these companies through peer connections. 


According to Eric Schoenberg, director of brand engagement at RepNation, the agency works with companies including Dell, Ford, MTV and JetBlue Airlines. 


We tend to work with fairly large, significant clients around the world who are looking to target students in college,"" Schoenberg said. ""They are looking to utilize how to promote to this target because audiences are challenging for them to reach. So, we offer promotions through nontraditional media, not with the television or radio, but through peer-to-peer connections.""  

RepNation hires ""brand ambassadors"" to help promote these companies to students on campuses across the nation.  


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The experience of working for an agency like RepNation teaches college students things they can only learn in the work force, Shoenberg said. 


""No matter what [a student's] major, this opportunity is unique and gives them a real world experience to gain the skills that they need to move up in the ranks,"" he said.  


Schoenberg said some students might have the opportunity to start a career with the brands they represent. 


UW-Madison junior Jenny Cooper is one of the many brand ambassadors for RepNation on campus. Cooper works for Ford, one of two campaigns on the UW-Madison this semester, but one out of 25 in the entire nation. 


As a brand ambassador on the ""Ford Drives U"" campaign, Cooper plans events specifically designed to promote Ford products. She started working for RepNation last semester and said she has learned a lot about the marketing world. 

""It teaches you to be creative with your networking. It forces you to take who you know and what you know and put it to working on making deals and compromises,"" she said. 


According to Cooper, students can visit to learn more about the ""Ford Drives U"" campaign.  

Josh Cummins, a UW-Madison senior and Dell's lead campus representative at UW-Madison, said he understands the importance of companies' search for college brand ambassadors. 


""I think students really like being spoken to by one of their peers rather than some middle-aged business person. Campus reps are just like the rest of the student body - we understand where you are coming from,"" Cummins said.  


Kevin Blair, a junior and former Mountain Dew brand ambassador on campus, said he thought working for RepNation was a great opportunity to use skills learned in classes in real life situations.  


""I think that these companies are looking to college students to market on campus because we know our own market the best,"" Blair said. ""As fast as trends change these days, the only ones who can keep up with college lifestyle is college students themselves."" 


Irvin Chen, a UW-Madison junior and Microsoft brand ambassador, works with local businesses and organizations in the Madison area to promote a program that sets up a professional, fully functional website quickly and easily.  


""I think businesses are looking to college students for employees because it's really the students that run college campuses,"" Chen said.  


""We know the ins and outs of our respective cities. And when a business wants its product to be promoted in a campus town, there's really no better choice than going to the students.""  

Students who are interested in working for RepNation can log on to or search ""RepNation"" on Facebook for more details. 

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