A Marketing Lesson with Puppies

Three Babson students, one of whom holds a puppy, gather together for a photo

Something was afoot at Babson. The paw prints, written in chalk on the ground, were the first indication.

Those paw prints led to the Donald W. Reynolds Campus Center, where inside, visitors were confronted with an onslaught of cuteness, playfulness, and fur.

The occasion was a pop-up event, or, more accurately, a pup-up event. Five cream-colored golden retriever puppies—Rozy, Lucy, Ziva, Bailey, and Millie—were on hand for passers-by to pet, pat, and hold. Babson Police Officer Kevin Carrigan made sure that Roger, Babson’s community resource dog, and Ronni, another service dog (both Roger and Ronni are Carrigan’s household pets), were there as well.

That’s seven dogs in all, and so much pooch power drew a crowd of students. “I heard they were doing puppies today,” says Cristina Heilbron ’23, one of many huddled around the canines. “They’re adorable.”

Heilbron was well aware the puppies were coming because the event was well promoted, with fliers, Instagram posts, and the aforementioned paw prints. The puppy event, and all the marketing surrounding it, were the work of students in an intro to marketing class.

Sandra Bravo
Sandra Bravo MBA’87, associate professor of practice in marketing, taught two sections of the Principles of Marketing course. One of them organized the puppy event, while the other created a time capsule pop-up. (Photo: Mark Manne)

This semester, all eight of the Principles of Marketing courses were charged with creating and promoting pop-up events across campus. Among other things, the pop-ups featured snow globe making, a Connect 4 tournament, a ramen restaurant, an escape room, and a time capsule.

Sandra Bravo MBA’87, associate professor of practice in marketing, hopes the exercise made students appreciate the importance of promotion and messaging. “Marketing makes a business successful. Lots of people have great ideas, but if you don’t know how to market them, you won’t get people to experience them,” says Bravo, whose class organized the puppy event. “I wanted them to know the power of what they can do. And, I wanted them to bring some joy to campus.”

Drawn to the Puppies

With the puppies, the class surely succeeded in bringing plenty of joy. Students passing through Reynolds smiled when they saw the dogs, and students who held the pups looked relaxed and content. “I was drawn to the puppies,” says Phoebe Dybner ’23, a dog lover whose family in North Jersey has a tradition of naming hounds after highways: Pulaski for the Pulaski Skyway, Lincoln for the Lincoln Tunnel, and Bruckner for the Bruckner Expressway.

“If you’re having a rough day, you play with the puppies,” says Jel Luma ’25, one of the students in the Principles of Marketing course. Like many of her classmates at the pop-up event, Luma wore a baseball cap with a dog pictured on it, and her face was painted with dog whiskers and a dog nose.

“Marketing makes a business successful. Lots of people have great ideas, but if you don’t know how to market them, you won’t get people to experience them.”
Sandra Bravo MBA’87, associate professor of practice in marketing

Cooper Ash ’25 went one step further. He wore a doggie onesie. “It’s hot in here,” he says. Ash wore the onesie because no one else in his marketing class was willing to do so. The onesie belonged to a classmate, but when the class was asked whether anyone was willing to wear it in public, there wasn’t much enthusiasm. “Everyone went quiet,” Ash says.

Ash, however, volunteered, thinking the outfit could raise some awareness about the puppy pop-up. “I might walk around the library,” he says.

A Time Capsule

After the puppy event ended on the first floor of Reynolds, another pop-up kicked off on the second floor. Entitled Back to Babson 2032 and inspired in part by the time-traveling Back to the Future movies, this pop-up featured a time capsule that students filled with written recollections on future plans and Babson memories.

Time Capsule Pop-Up
In the time capsule pop-up event, students recorded video messages and wrote recollections. The time capsule will be opened in 2032. (Photo: Mark Manne)

The time capsule, which will be stored in Horn Library and opened in 2032, also included video messages. Standing in Reynolds’ Global Lounge, with Kerry Murphy Healey Park serving as a backdrop outside the window, students recorded themselves talking about where they’ll be in 10 years.

“I see myself living in New York City,” says one student. “I see myself planning weddings,” says another. “In 10 years,” says someone else, “I want to travel the world and visit at least three different continents.” This being Babson, the most common future predictions revolved around entrepreneurship. “In 10 years, I see myself working on a startup” was one typically entrepreneurial response.

As with the puppy event, the marketing class behind the time capsule pop-up worked hard on promotion and utilized all kinds of ways to get the word out, including dressing the Roger Babson statue in a lab coat and a frizzy wig, a la the character of Doc Brown from Back to the Future. The statue held a QR code that gave event details. “That is guerrilla marketing at its best,” says Bravo, who taught the class that organized the time capsule pop-up.

A robust crowd gathered for the event, and Jeff Oyegue ’25 appreciated the effort the class took. “It took 30, 40 people to get the marketing together. We spent two weeks planning,” Oyegue says. “Getting people here is no easy feat. It looks like it worked.”

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