Proton has organised a nationwide competition for university students, challenging them to come up with the most creative way to market the Proton X70. The automaker says that it is seeking to find students with leadership qualities to lead meaningful marketing campaigns for the SUV.

The “Intelligence that Inspires Challenge” competition aims to find out not just how creative young minds are at coming up with marketing ideas for an automotive subject, but will also explore their execution capabilities with regards to large-scale marketing campaigns.

The contest – which is organised in partnership with the education ministry – began in April and will run until end-July, and is divided into three stages – an Elimination Round, Semi-Final and Final. A total of 51 teams from 20 institutions of higher learning across the country registered for the competition.

The initial stage required the teams to develop a marketing plan to maintain the leading market position of the X70 as well as explore how the automaker can create a better engagement with the public. The number of teams were whittled to 19 for the second stage of the competition.

The finale will take place on July 23 at the automaker’s Centre of Excellence in Shah Alam, where competitors will be judged by a panel of experts, which includes our man Hafriz Shah.

To be crowned as champions, contestants will have to plan and deploy their campaign for the X70 in the city where their university is located in, as well as organise and execute an entire community relations event in their respective city and/or districts. In addition, they are also tasked with preparing an executable sustenance plan that cements the SUV’s sales leadership in various cities across Malaysia.

Proton CEO Li Chunrong is looking at the competition to unearth hidden gems. “I strongly believe that leadership is cultivated from a young age, and so through this competition we hope to provide the opportunity to our next generation of leaders from established universities in Malaysia to shine on a national level and equip them with the skill-set to excel in the corporate world,” he said.

“We also hope to instil strong communication skills among our young contestants as this is the foundation to working effectively in a team,” he added.