A team of three NYU students competed in L’Oréal’s annual Brandstorm competition at the Westin Hotel near Grand Central Station on April 11.
The team, which consisted of Stern juniors Fanny Sun, Jackson Sheng and Kathy Hong, was called “In for the Kiehl,” a play on words derived from L’Oreal-owned company Kiehl’s, the center company of this year’s competition.
Brandstorm is an international marketing competition that challenges students to create both an original product and a marketing campaign for a predetermined company of L’Oréal. The winner will advance to the international finals in Paris this June to represent the United states against 44 other countries.
This year, the students were asked to put themselves in the shoes of an international marketing director for Kiehl’s and design a product for the company’s men’s line.
The NYU team designed a “Mr. Ready” kit, a small package filled with hair-care products for men to quickly freshen up in a hurry. The kit could ideally be purchased in a robot dispenser outside of Kiehl’s locations or in other spots throughout the city.
“Most [men] don’t really care about using facial lotion or mud masks, but every guy cares about their hair, no matter what,” Sun said.
Sumita Banerjee, L’Oreal’s vice president for talent recruitment, said the company uses the competition as a fun way to have students involvement, and it is often used for recruitment.
“Recruiting of junior talents into the organization is a key aspect of our strategy, so we believe that the future pipeline comes from the students we are hiring from undergrad and MBA today,” Banerjee said.
While this year’s team did not win the competition, the NYU team won Brandstorm in 2012, setting a precedent for NYU’s success in the competition. This year’s NYU team said it felt a sense of school spirit in the competition because of the university’s past success.
“There’s definitely school pride,” Hong said. “They greet us as ‘reigning champs’ but this is technically our first year.”
NYU also has a longstanding relationship with L’Oréal, Banerjee said.
“NYU has been a partner for a really long time and the relationship between NYU and L’Oréal is very special because we have had some fantastic talents come from NYU not just in marketing, but also in sales, finance, engineering [and] the digital area,” Banerjee said.
Sheng said he learned a lot from the competition because, as a finance major, he has less experience in marketing.
“I hope that everything I have learned here I can apply to my job later on,” Sheng said. “[You’re not just doing] what you do normally and what the mold has for you, but you’re going out of your comfort zone and trying something different.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 14 print edition. Larson Binzer is a deputy news editor. Email her at [email protected]