A model car made out of fruitStudents in Product Innovation Management (MKT 410) crafted vehicles predominantly from fruits and vegetables to compete in a race and based on their marketing characteristics.

“This exercise allows students the opportunity to practice designing and building a relatively simple ‘product’ in a product development team structure,” said Hang Nguyen, assistant professor of marketing and the course’s instructor. “It also gives students an opportunity to exercise their creativity, both individually and as part of a group.”

Students were allowed to spend up to $20 on fruits, vegetables, and supporting components (such as wire or coffee stirrers to hold the produce together). They were also encouraged to consider positioning and branding for their products, based on a concept development process.

The vehicles were then built and raced in class as part of MSU’s inaugural Fruity Vegetable Vehicle Race, held October 21, 2014. Prizes were awarded based on distance traveled and durability as well as features such as which vehicles made students laugh most, or which the students considered most appealing.