Y255, a student-developed agency that helps companies advertise products to Generation Z through customized video game experiences, has won the Herbert B. Jones $15,000 grand prize at Washington State University’s 20th annual Business Plan Competition.
Meagan Garrett, principal for BrandVenture Consulting, likens the advertising team’s venture to that of product placement, in which companies pay for their products to be featured in films and television programs for exposure.
The difference is that instead of simply placing an ad within the game for the company’s product, y255 works with companies to design different quests and games within each video game so that players can have an in-game experience with the product, she says.
“Gen Z is very averse to advertising,” says Garrett. “With (y255), companies can work with the advertising team to find out what experience works best for each game.”
Garrett says that in addition to the grand prize, y255 was also awarded a legal services package that can be used for patent creation or incorporation.
While some students join the competition for class credit, typically, many will continue and work on their business plan through summer, says Garrett.
The 20th annual Business Plan Competition was hosted by the WSU Center for Entrepreneurship on April 27. Student teams presented their business plans and competed for cash and in-kind prizes totaling $86,000. The field of contestants was the largest and most diverse in the competition’s history, says Garrett.
In total, 346 students from seven WSU colleges, five universities, and six high schools across Washington and Idaho formed 123 venture teams.
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