University of Tennessee

Haslam Students Market New Products in Spain During Summer Session

July 5, 2015

Thirteen Haslam students joined a group from the University of South Carolina for an international marketing course in Barcelona, Spain, during the summer mini-term. Kelly Hewett, assistant professor of marketing at the Haslam College of Business, lead the course.

During their time in Spain, students visited Camp Nou (where the FC Barcelona soccer team plays), Sagrda Familia cathedral and Roca International, the world’s largest producer of bathroom fixtures. Their primary assignment was to create a marketing launch plan for a product not currently available in Spain.

Aubrey Pike, a rising senior with a minor in business, said her team planned to introduce the Swiffer Wet Jet.

“Here they use traditional mops,” Pike said. “While I am sure the mop works just fine, a Swiffer is more sanitary, convenient and eco friendly.” Pike noted that preserving the environment is a priority in Spanish culture. She believed the Swiffer also was a good alternative to traditional mops because of space restrictions in Spanish homes.

Seth Carter’s group chose a product that is still new to the United States. “It’s a monthly service for pet owners who live in the city called Fresh Patch,” said the senior marketing and supply chain major. “Essentially it gives pets a patch to do their business.” Carter explained that his group thought of the product when they noticed how many Spanish people were dog owners in contrast to how few parks and green spaces exist in Barcelona.

The students’ attention to their surroundings and assimilation of experiences to inform their product launches was exactly what Hewett and the USC advisors had in mind.

“They are leveraging what they learn about the culture, economic environment, political environment and overall business environment in Spain to create their marketing plans,” Hewett said.

Hewett chose Spain for the trip because she believes it is a unique business setting that provides a challenge to students. “[Spain] emerged from a fascist dictatorship less than 40 years ago and is establishing a very young democracy,” Hewett said. “Also, since joining the EU it has experienced extreme fluctuations, from growing to equal Germany and France in terms of economic performance to now enduring one of the worst economic crises of any country in the world.”