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Waikato marketing students’ invention off the lead

12 October, 2016

Hannah Moulden, Jessica Calvert and Lucy Hill

Waikato marketing students’ invention off the lead

Three Waikato University students unleashed a creative invention at the Management School’s Marketing Trade Show on Friday 7 October to help motivate more Kiwi pet owners to take their dogs for a walk.

‘Freedom Leash’ is an attachment that can be taken on and off a dog collar. Made from climbing webbing (Condura and Spectra cord), the product has a two-metre long retractable leash with holes that can be used to form a loop of any size to tie up the dog or make a handle. Freedom Leash is available in a range of colours including red, black, blue or camouflage.

The team of marketing students behind the product say it would appeal to people who are active and enjoy taking their dogs out for exercise. Individuals who live in the city or heavily populated locations are more likely to use the product and see the value in it.

Freedom Leash team member and former Hillcrest High School student Hannah Moulden says the product was initially formed to take the hassle out of dog walking.

“When your dog is off the leash, it can be a hassle to hold the dog lead, and when you want to tie your dog up to an object so you can quickly go into a shop, you may worry about having to make a knot so your dog is unable to escape.”

Former Cambridge High School student Lucy Hill says she’s enjoyed working with her Freedom Leash team members and participating in the marketing trade show.

“The trade show has been a lot of fun. The best part of it has been meeting as a team over a coffee, coming up with creative ideas and applying the marketing theory we’ve learnt to it.

“The whole experience has pushed us outside our comfort zones and has inspired us to think about starting our own business together with our product.”

The twice-yearly competition for the University of Waikato's first- and second-year marketing students has a different theme every time. This semester students were asked to develop original ideas for pet products and services, conduct market testing, design packaging, formulate a price and plan a marketing strategy.

Having organised the event for over sixteen years, Waikato University Teaching Programme Facilitator Quentin Somerville said: “Every year, it’s interesting to see the innovative ideas that students come up with which are able to be taken to market. I encourage those students to continue developing their ideas by visiting Waikato University’s Innovation Station and seeking funding.”

“Every year, there are some innovative ideas that are feasible and able to be taken to market. I highly encourage those students to visit Waikato University’s Innovation Station and seek funding.”

Marketing Trade Show judge Hugh O’Connor says students never fail to surprise him.

“We hope these students continue to feel the passion of marketing.”

The team exhibited Freedom Leash with the slogan ‘You’ve got the breed, we’ve got the lead’. The concept impressed the judges and the three team members each received a certificate and a $200 restaurant voucher from the University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley.

The winning team included: Jessica Calvert (middle right; studying for the Bachelor of Management Studies; Lucy Hill (right; Bachelor of Management Studies); and Hannah Moulden (left; Bachelor of Communications Studies).

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