Students tackle Kraft's Capri Sun in Kilts case competition

Published on January 27, 2015

The challenge: Rejuvenate an iconic brand in an increasingly competitive category. Stabilize the business in the short term, and make the brand more relevant, requested, and successful for years to come. You have three days.

As part of an exclusive case competition hosted by the Kilts Center for Marketing and Kraft Foods, 11 student teams took on the challenge of revitalizing one of Krafts’ largest and most beloved brands, Capri Sun. 

At stake was the opportunity for a guaranteed internship interview at Kraft as well as a chance to have dinner with Kraft’s Chief Marketing Officer Deanie Elsner, ’92. Elsner served as one of the competition judges alongside Greg Guidotti, Kraft’s senior director of marketing for ready-to-drink beverages; Triona Schmelter, Kraft’s vice president of marketing for meals and desserts; Jean-Pierre Dubé, Sigmund E. Edelstone Professor of Marketing and director of the Kilts Center; and Arthur Middlebrooks, clinical professor of marketing and executive director of the Kilts Center.  

While the judges were impressed with the quality of the ideas that teams generated, what set the winning team apart was a clear formulation of the case problem and a nuanced analysis of the Capri Sun consumer base. The winners—students in the Evening and Weekend MBA Programs, Amanda Davis, Antoine Jennings, Bharath Kumar, and Danielle Largay—attributed their success to their ability to challenge one another’s ideas, thanks in part to unique perspectives resulting from diverse backgrounds in retail, entertainment, technology, and consumer products.  

Of additional benefit was “keeping consumer needs first and foremost,” Davis said. “It’s really easy under that short time frame to just start throwing ideas out there.”

The Kilts Center partnered with Kraft to launch the case competition in fall 2013, with the goal of better preparing students for internships by giving them the chance to work through tangible, real-world business problems.  

“There are certain basic skills that are going to be critical for a marketer, or frankly for anyone—public speaking, working on a team, and defending a point of view—and opportunities like this case competition are probably less numerous than they ought to be at a place like Booth,” Dubé said.  

In the second iteration of the case competition this past fall, the Kilts Center adapted the case in response to participant feedback, paring down the narrative component of the case and giving teams access to the Nielsen database to build their recommendations. Next year, the team plans to enhance the profit-and-loss components of the case so students can further analyze the financial impact of their recommendations.—Julie Ginsberg