SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Students at Wofford College have gone nuts in residence halls, at football tailgates and other places across campus. Posing with banners that say “Shell Yeah!” and cans of Peanut Patch brand boiled peanuts, the students are taking part in digital marketing for a South Carolina food canning operation while three of their classmates gain marketing experience.
Those three students – Karly Diltz, a senior from Westfield, Massachusetts, majoring in mathematics; Niyah Lutz, a sophomore from Charlotte, North Carolina; and Lilly Hatton, a first-year student from Georgetown, Indiana – are official marketing ambassadors to find the “Peanuttiest Fans” for McCalls Farms, located in Effingham, S.C. The project is being managed at Wofford through The Space in the Mungo Center professional development center.
To find the “Peanuttiest Fans,” they encourage fellow students to post pictures of themselves with the Peanuts Fans banners and/or a can or two of Peanut Patch brand peanuts McCall Farms, one of the largest food canning operations in the United States and one of the largest distributors of canned goods across the country. The company’s boiled peanuts among its most popular products, and Annie Ham, company vice president of marketing, wants to make them even more popular. Ham’s husband, Jay Ham, is a 1990 Wofford graduate.
The company’s new marketing project, “Peanuttiest Fans,” partners with college students at several institutions in South Carolina to increase brand exposure in their home state.
“This is another opportunity for Wofford students to get good on-the-job experience and learn marketing analytics, all while having a little fun,” says Curt McPhail, executive director of The Space.
Doing “Peanuttiest Fans” marketing has proven to be a job accommodating to students with busy schedules. Along with their commitment to the campaign, Lutz and Hatton are both basketball players on Wofford women’s basketball team. Lutz admits that it has taken time to balance her job, basketball and student commitments, but that McCall Farms is “just as invested as I am, and they are willing to do anything to help me. It’s easy to do a job when both sides have the same goal in mind.”
Each week, “Peanuttiest Fans” awards prizes to the students who gain the most public votes for the photos they take with the product. The prizes include Peanut Patch products and merchandise, billboard exposure and cash. Despite the competition from student ambassadors at larger universities, Wofford consistently has been winning the prizes.
According to Ham, as of early October there had been just over 1.2 million impressions delivered of Wofford students and fans on billboards throughout the state. “In addition, there have been another 11,000 views of our webpage where the fan photos are shown,” she adds.
“We are excited to develop this relationship with Wofford and other universities as a way to motivate students to achieve by seeing first-hand a practical application of their education,” Ham says. “As a large employer in South Carolina, we are always looking for talented young adults entering the workforce who have a genuine interest in their field of study and who want to stay in South Carolina. We hope this initial project with Wofford is the first of many.”
McPhail attributes Wofford’s success to the students’ hard work and creativity. “Our students have been really creative and interested in the entirety of the project.”
Lutz credits her peers’ kindness and support. “Wofford is surrounded with selfless people willing to help in any way, shape or form.”
To vote for the “Peanuttiest Fans,” visit peanuttiestfans.com.