University of Wisconsin-Madison freshman Sam Jeschke meets tens of thousands using Mentos Gum and converts surprise challenge into a year of free tuition
ERLANGER, Ky. (September 6, 2017) — On college campuses nationwide, welcome week activities are designed to help incoming freshmen meet their new classmates. But thanks to Mentos Gum, no other freshman in America connected with more of their classmates this year than the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Sam Jeschke.
To reinforce how the simple act of sharing Mentos Gum can create lasting connections, the brand surprised Jeschke with an epic challenge on freshmen move-in day: Connect with his campus community using 43,000 bottles of Mentos Gum to earn a free DJ Khaled concert for UW students and a year of free tuition for himself. After the initial shock wore off, Jescke took the challenge in stride and visited every inch of campus, including the Kohl Center, Memorial Union Terrace and Union South, which was documented for the microsite SamHasMentosGum.com and Mentos Gum social media channels.
“I have never been so shocked in my life. I went from thinking I was passing out a few samples to getting my own hashtag, messages of support from DJ Khaled and one heck of a challenge,” Jeschke said. “But the best part is all the people I’ve met. The entire student body has been rallying behind me. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. Would prefer we have Sam put it in his own words.”
Jeschke shared the final bottles Tuesday night just hours before the deadline during an annual first-year student event at Camp Randall Stadium. The stadium erupted in cheers when a personal message from DJ Khaled congratulated Jeschke and announced he was coming to campus.
“Thanks to Sam, Mentos Gum is thrilled to bring DJ Khaled to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to celebrate this impressive accomplishment,” said Sylvia Buxton, Vice President Marketing for Perfetti Van Melle North America. “The #SamHasMentosGum challenge proved that even at a time when we’re happy to hide behind our smartphones and resort to social media for connection, a gesture as small as sharing Mentos Gum is really all it takes to connect with someone.”
DJ Khaled was in on the surprise from day one. He recorded a personal video message for Jeschke to help issue the challenge and a celebratory video to help announce Jeschke’s success. He also supported the campaign with numerous social media posts and national media interviews.
“Sam did it like we knew he would,” DJ Khaled said. “I am coming for University of Wisconsin-Madison and we are going to light up the stage.”
DJ Khaled will perform on Monday, October 30 at the Kohl Center. The free concert is exclusive to UW-Madison students. For more information about securing tickets, please visit UWBadgers.com.
Mentos Gum and its creative agency, Fast Horse, developed the fully integrated campaign #SamHasMentosGum to help rally support from college campuses nationwide. The brand partnered with University of Wisconsin-Madison to create the ruse by offering a brand ambassador role to all Wisconsin freshmen during welcome week. Mentos Gum received hundreds of submissions but Jeschke quickly rose to the top. During the final in-person interview, the brand captured photos of Jeschke which were used, unbeknownst to the freshman, in the nationwide campaign.
The campaign included the microsite SamHasMentosGum.com, a sweepstakes for a VIP package to attend the DJ Khaled performance in Madison, social media content (including Snapchat star Sara Hopkins), digital advertising, and sponsorship of the Wisconsin football team’s season-opening home game at Camp Randall Stadium which aired nationally on ESPN.
To see highlights from Sam’s journey, check out the #SamHasMentosGum hashtag on social media, or by check out Mentos Gum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About DJ Khaled
DJ Khaled’s latest album Grateful (We The Best Music Group/Epic Records) debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on August 23, 2017. A major force in the music industry, mogul, executive, mega producer and recording artist, DJ Khaled, known as the “Anthem King” and commonly referred to as the “Quincy Jones of Hip Hop & R&B”, has made dozens of chart topping hit records featuring JAY Z, Kanye West, Drake, Chris Brown, Ludacris, T.I., French Montana, Future, Big Sean, Rick Ross, John Legend, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne, among others.
Mentos is in 159 countries, so it’s fair to say Mentos is a global brand. Mentos comes in a lot of different shapes, flavors and sizes, so there’s something for everyone and every taste. A lot of other brands out there obsess about what makes us all different; we’d rather explore the things we have in common. The Mentos brand is well-known. And it’s well-loved too. So wherever you go, one thing you can be sure of when you meet someone new is that they love Mentos. This means that if you have Mentos in your hand you have the ultimate conversation starter, a sure way to make a connection. All you need to do is offer. After all— Who says no to Mentos?
About Perfetti Van Melle
Perfetti Van Melle Benelux B.V. is a privately owned global company that was established in March 2001 through the merger of Perfetti SpA and Van Melle B.V. Perfetti Van Melle manufactures and distributes sugar confectionery and chewing gum products in more than 150 countries. Today Perfetti Van Melle is one of the world’s largest confectionery groups, marketing highly renowned brands such as Mentos, Frisk, Chupa Chups, Smint, Fruittella, Alpenliebe, Golia, Vivident, Airheads, Happydent and Big Babol. The group has corporate headquarters in Italy and The Netherlands. U.S. operations are operated out of Erlanger, KY.