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San Diego State University

At State - the SDSU Student Newsletter

“What Drives Your Life?”

An Interview with Marco Cortes of Aztec Creative Solutions

aztec creative solutions logo

Chevrolet Campus Promotions has invited universities from across the country to participate in a competition. Students from 19 different universities, including SDSU, are involved. Working with a budget of $3 thousand, students are responsible for evaluating the current market situation; conducting research to thoroughly understand their target market; and creation, implementation, and evaluation of an integrated marketing plan.

Aztec Creative Solutions is the SDSU team that’s promoting several Chevrolet brand vehicles designed to fit the college student lifestyle.

Marco Cortes is a senior and a marketing major. Along with four other students, he’s involved in a project to promote the “All New Chevrolet Spark, Sonic and Cruze” on the SDSU campus. You may already have seen some evidence of this promotional campaign. This month, you’ll see even more.


Find out what’s happening:

  • @State: How did this project evolve?
  • Marco: This is a project for my major, and the professor is Michael Belch. The whole class was split into groups of 4, and each group is working with an individual client. We got a really good client: Chevrolet! This is a school project but is also like an internship. It’s something real with a real budget — we have $3 thousand to do this whole campaign and get as much value as possible.
  • @State: How does the team concept work for this project?
  • Marco: My team members are Kari Filer, Fernando Rodriguez, and Daniel Gaona. We’re all seniors with the same major, and this is our semester-long capstone project, our final test to graduate. For the capstone project, you do an integrated marketing communications plan for a real live company. The first thing we did was create our student advertising agency called “Aztec Creative Solutions.”
  • Image: Chevy Promo team members Kari Filer, Fernando Rodriguez, Marco Cortes, Daniel Gaona@State: So this is more than just a class project — you’re actually doing marketing for Chevrolet?
  • Marco: Right. Some other groups in our class are creating marketing plans, and that’s it. One group is working with a downtown restaurant to improve their marketing, but they only give them the plan to take and implement it, if they decide to. We came up with a promotional plan for Chevy, but instead of just inventing the plan, we’re also doing an actual live promotional campaign — here at SDSU. You can see the campaign online on our website at
  • @State: What’s involved in the SDSU promotion?
  • Marco: We’ll do different events. For instance, on November 6, we will put up a mural and invite students to express themselves. This ties in with the cars — the name of the campaign is “What drives your life.” So we’re inviting students to express themselves and say what drives their life. We want to associate this with the cars. The main event is on Tuesday, November 20. We’ll bring in cars for people to look at and have different activities. We’re hoping to hold it near the flagpole. From the 13th to the 15th of November, we’ll have “pop-me” balloons all over campus. We’ll put fliers inside the balloons with QR codes that people can scan, that will take them to our Facebook page. This is a teaser event leading to the main event that’s on the 20th. That’s when the cars will be on campus. We’ll even have a friend in a bumblebee costume to breakdance and take photos with people.
  • @State: What are the objectives of the marketing plan?
  • Marco: We want to increase overall opinion for the Chevrolet brand, increase consideration for purchasing Chevrolet, and increase familiarity for specific Chevrolet models, the Sonic, Spark, and Cruze. The fourth is the Chevrolet Camaro. Everyone knows that car. It’s the car that was featured in the Transformer movie. We’ll do followup afterwards to see how we raised opinion of Chevrolet at SDSU. Another goal is to raise awareness about the Chevy College Discount Program. People can get a discount for being a student here. It varies by car and can run from $500 to up to $1,500 to $2,000, depending on the price of the car.
  • @State: Tell us about the Chevy cars — what are they like?
  • Marco: One of the goals of campaign is to raise awareness of the cars and so students are familiar with attributes of the cars. We’ll have panels that explain what the features are. I like the Camaro. That’s their star. At SDSU, we’re promoting one of their new cars, called the Spark. It’s brand new and a smaller car, targeted more toward young people, to millenials. It has an lcd screen and all the bells and whistles. You can connect your smart phone via Bluetooth and access applications on the screen or listen to music via Pandora. It’s very concvenient. We’ll have demos of this when cars are on campus. It starts at around 12 thousand and comes in several colors, blue, yellow, white. Students like to express themselves, and it’s unique, customizable. Like the Minicooper. Also, it’s fuel efficient. That’s important because of the price of gas and to preserve our environment.

Campaign Theme:

“What Drives Your Life?”  The tone of the campaign is based on experiential marketing to create an emotional and rational appeal that will connect with the target audience and get them thinking about what drives them to succeed, what pushes them to achieve their goals in life.

Sometimes it is passion or even curiosity. It may be friendship, experiences or success. Whatever drives your life, Chevrolet has the right ride for you.

Photo: The All New Chevy Spark

The all-new Chevrolet Spark launched in summer 2012.
The hatchback features seating for 4, 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.


  • @State: What emotional components are involved in selling cars?
  • Marco: A car is a big expenditure, and it’s important to people. And our car is an extension of our own self. If you look at people’s cars, lots of people name them. I love music, so my car has a big stereo. Others put toys in their car. Guys think it’s a symbol of success or status. So there’s psychological attachment to cars. The students we’re targeting, millennials at SDSU. Having a new car is something they’re looking forward to. It’s a symbol that they did it. Lots of students go out and buy a new car when they graduate.
  • @State: What exactly is the major in “business administration specializing in integrated marketing communications”?
  • Marco: It’s marketing but more of a blend with the whole communications major. You can take public relations classes, advertising, sales promotion . . . you’re basically integrating all the communication channels.
  • @State: What kinds of things are you learning so far?
  • Marco: We did a focus group to get ideas as to what kind of cars SDSU students like. What attracts them. People aren’t really attached to the actual car but more to the associations they have, the experiences the car can help you achieve. A car can get you to the beach, go out with your friends. Beach, outdoors, hiking. We did one focus group of 5 people. We also did primary research surveyed 200 students on campus an online survey by email, social media. People had low awareness of the Chevy Spark, only 10 percent. So we want to raise awareness.
  • @State: How is it going for you so far, and the rest of your team?
  • Marco: It’s a unique experience for us because we can put what we learn into real life practice. Also, competing with other schools means it’s a challenge that gives you the experience you’ll need when you go out there to get a job. This is of interest to a lot of students, especially business students. We need them to come out and have fun with us and participate in the events. Go Aztecs!”
Image: What Drives Your Life logo