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DWC students featured on NBC 6 in a ‘Battle of the Bark’ for special topics course with Hoffman’s Chocolates

Students in B.A. in Communication major

On Friday, April 26, B.A. in Communication students from the Department of Writing and Communication in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences showcased their chocolate concepts and marketing campaigns to Hoffman’s Chocolates executives and Nova Southeastern University faculty and administration as part of a final showcase for the special topics course COMM 4990: Advertising, Branding, and Consumer Product Design.


The student showcase, which took place at the NSU Write from the Start Writing and Communication Center, featured two student teams competing in a “Battle of the Bark,” as NBC 6 South Florida deemed it, which presented Hoffman’s chocolates executives with two strategic and creative chocolate bark flavors – Dark Bark Bliss and Salted Caramel Mocha – to consider for production.

“My colleagues and I are sitting across the table saying ‘we have to make this happen,’” said Lois Marino, director of marketing for Hoffman’s Chocolates. “There is definitely a great opportunity for us to bring these products and their campaigns to Hoffman’s.”

The special topics course, offered for the first time to select B.A. in Communication majors, partnered with the chocolate manufacturer Hoffman’s Chocolates, which has several retail locations in South Florida, and with the BBX Capital Foundation, which supports the arts, education and human services in Florida.

“This is a perfect example of how DWC delivers the NSU Edge,” said Shanti Bruce, Ph.D., professor and chair for the Department of Writing and Communication. “Partnering with Hoffman’s Chocolates allowed Communication majors to learn directly from the marketing professionals at Hoffman’s Chocolates. With their mentorship, the students designed original products and advertising materials that may be used by this corporate leader.”

The eight-week course focused on marketing and promotion and included a site visit to a Hoffman’s Chocolates Factory that allowed students to experience the chocolate-making process first-hand.

“I was inspired to create/develop the course as a way for Communication majors to showcase their creative engines with a wide array of theoretical considerations, practical knowledge and message design techniques,” said Stephen Andon, Ph.D., associate professor of communication. “My goal for the course was for the College and University community, the local business community, and the South Florida community at large to understand how Communication students at NSU are so unique in their capacity to solve complex, real-world and consumer-driven problems with the creative abilities honed in our classrooms. Involving a pair of community partners in Hoffman’s Chocolates and the BBX Capital Foundation was also tremendously important, in order to display our commitment to our local community.”

“I would say the biggest thing I learned was how to fully put together a marketing plan and truly see it out to the end,” said Communication major Ebunae McBean.

“I am so fortunate that I was one of the few students selected for the COMM 4990 course,” said Monique Cole, who recently graduated from the B.A. in Communication program and is now a student in the M.A. in Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media program.

The partnership was a success for all involved. Hoffman’s plans to produce one of the student-created chocolate barks, and the Department of Writing and Communication plans to offer the course again during the Winter 2020 semester.

“I was thrilled to learn that Hoffman’s will be selling one of the products that came out of this class,” Bruce said. “The packaging will include information about the partnership, and some of the proceeds will come back to benefit students at NSU.”

For more information about COMM 4990: Advertising, Branding, and Consumer Product Design and its collaboration with Hoffman’s Chocolates, click here.

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