Google Online Marketing Challenge! promises excitement for boys and girls around the world who participate in a new school program all about online advertising. Google's giving $200 worth of AdWords to schools where students will marketing students learn how to use Google's online advertising products and test out trial campaigns with local businesses.The
Surely the teachers in those classrooms will at least give a passing nod to competing ad networks, right?
According to the project page, the students will "outline a strategy, run your campaign, assess your results and provide the business with recommendations to further develop their online marketing. Teams submit their reports and are judged by a panel of independent academics from all over the world."
According to a good write up on ClickZ Google's initial goal was to have a modest 200 schools participate. So far more than 700 schools have signed up, though, and there's two weeks left to register. The Challenge has been open for some time but was just announced officially this week. A Google Map of the participating schools show that the program has extended to every continent on the planet. Janet Driscoll Miller visited a participating school yesterday and has a good write up on MarketingPilgram.
If there are 30 students at each of the 700 schools, that's 21,000 students consuming the Google curriculum. A global crop of newly experienced students and small businesses introduced to AdWords for a mere $140k in free "product"? Sounds like a good program for Google. While I'm sure all of these young people were likely to pay very close attention to Google advertising programs anyway, there's something a bit funny about this kind of corporate influence over the souls of...marketing students. Ok, so maybe this isn't as ominous as many other corporate sponsorships in schools these days.
Contest winners will receive a Golden Ticket good for a week long trip to the Googleplex. It's a little bit creepy, but it does sound like a very good idea.