June 2024

Marketing students rise to the TikTok challenge to showcase Birmingham icons

By Sean Madden

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Read time: approx 4 mins

Second year students on the University's Digital Marketing and Marketing Management degrees have been presented with the rare opportunity to take part in a social media challenge set by a local company with a global reach.

Explode are a Birmingham-based social media marketing agency with a worldwide client base, and their involvement in a student challenge for the second consecutive year highlights the continuing link between University College Birmingham and vibrant local businesses.

The students have been asked to create and submit a brief TikTok video for Explode clients – and Birmingham icons – Bullring and Grand Central. The video can either be a values-based piece, succinctly reviewing their favourite shops, bars, restaurants or facilities, or in the ‘trending’ style, using a combination of audio, dance, and memes.

The chance to go viral

Judges will decide on the top three submissions, and each of these will be awarded a certificate. Excitingly, Explode will promote the winner’s video across their own social media channels, and Bullring and Grand Central may decide to use it as part of their own marketing content.

The Explode team were keen to stress that keeping a Birmingham flavour to the creations was key to a winning entry.

Maria said: “We want these videos to be short and snappy with a hook, and they have to be Birmingham focused, centred on something in either Grand Central or the Bullring, but how the students go about it is up to them - get involved and show your creative side.”

"One of our account managers did his degree at the University and went on to an internship and then employment with us. We mean it when we say we’re looking for new, young talent – we really believe it, and we believe in the students here.”

Maria Explode Account Manager

Industry collaboration

Marketing lecturer Faiza Khan emphasised the importance of strong engagement with potential employers, saying: “the University’s collaboration with industry helps to give students firsthand experience of marketing in a professional environment. It gives them a good idea of what works and what does not in the sector and provides invaluable work experience for the CVs of both home and international students alike.”

She said the competition would give students a differential advantage when they start looking for employment in the sector.

“Two of the degree modules this year feature work with real-world clients," she said. "This competition is a really a nice way to continue that theme; to give them a better student experience and to develop those important practical skills – it is a challenge, but also an opportunity.”

Maria highlighted the importance of choosing the University for their collaboration: “Through our CEO, Lindi Mngaza, we’ve had a connection with the University for a while. One of our account managers did his degree at the University and went on to an internship and then employment with us. We mean it when we say we’re looking for new, young talent – we really believe it, and we believe in the students here.”

In pictures: launching the challenge

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