In today’s ever-changing world, understanding how to effectively market to Gen Z is not just a trend but a necessity for brands that want to stay relevant. Gen Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, are rapidly becoming a significant consumer force, and with their unique preferences, values and digital fluency, they demand a fresh approach to marketing. Recognizing this, Bojangles teamed up with Johnson C. Smith University and PR agency Luquire to launch an initiative that provided a masterclass in connecting with this demographic, while also empowering future marketers with real world experiences.

Students from JCSU’s Intro to Marketing class were given the opportunity to develop and execute marketing campaigns for two new Bojangles menu items—the Sausage Bo Berry Biscuit and wings. This real-world experience allowed students to apply their knowledge and bring fresh, authentic Gen Z perspectives to the table.

The students divided into teams and got to work crafting comprehensive marketing strategies, incorporating creative execution, digital media, public relations and more. By doing so, the students learned to create cohesive campaigns that resonate on multiple levels, essential for capturing Gen Z’s multi-faceted attention.

Throughout the semester, Luquire’s cross-disciplinary team met with the JCSU students weekly to brainstorm and guide them to develop campaigns that they ultimately presented to Bojangles CEO, Tom Boland and Chef Marshall Scarborough, VP of Menu & Culinary Innovation. The energy in the pitch room was palpable – and the group of students crushed it.

The presentations included unique influencer collabs, organic and authentic social media challenges, in-person events and activations, viral trend-setting moments, catchy headlines and tapping into new mediums for the brand – like e-sports and music.

By involving Gen Z students directly in their marketing process, Bojangles didn’t just speak to them but rather co-created with them – and it worked. The Bojangles team loved the students’ campaigns so much that they’re hoping to use ideas from all four teams in their real-world marketing initiatives for the two products!

Inspire the marketers of tomorrow, including a historically underrepresented demographic in the industry ✅
Give students real-world experience with a real-life brand ✅
Gain invaluable insights into the Gen Z demographic ✅
Compile marketing ideas directly from Bojangles’ target audience ✅
Win ✅ win ✅ win ✅ win ✅