Run Gum logo with photo of a track athelete

A Case for Running with Gum

This fall, the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center partnered with energy gum maker Run Gum to host an undergraduate sports marketing case competition. Prior to the event, members of the Warsaw Sports Business Club formed teams and received a case prompt from event organizers. Their analysis of the prompt included a comprehensive SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, a digital marketing audit, and a marketing plan. Two finalist teams were selected to compete against each other during an October 12 event.

The two teams" efforts were judged by a panel consisting of Run Gum cofounder Sam Lapray, Warsaw Center undergraduate program manager and instructor of marketing Joshua Gordon, and Warsaw Center MBA program manager Craig Leon. Run Gum cofounder Nick Symmonds worked behind the scenes with the participants, providing product and helping to refine the case topic. An audience of about 40 undergraduate students engaged the finalist teams with questions of their own.

After a hard-fought battle, Dilene Soto-Salazar, Christian Kovacevic, and Abrams Arreola took home first place. James Gomes, Michael Robelli, and Matt Tate were the runners-up. Prizes included Run Gum swag, Nike gift cards, and the opportunity to showcase at next year's Sports Marketing Association Case Competition.

Run Gum's business model and the real challenges the company faces formed the foundational material of the case prompt that student teams worked to analyze. Cofounders Symmonds and Lapray met as track athletes at Willamette University and together realized the potential for a caffeine stimulant for runners that didn't require water. Their product gives runners and other athletes an energy boost equivalent to that of a cup of coffee or an energy drink. The competition gave students the opportunity to present solutions and analysis that could be applied in this real-world situation.

The Warsaw Center plans to hold such competitions once per term to provide students with the opportunity to engage with industry professionals and refine their marketing capabilities through competition.