Spooky Stats on Campus

As I shared on Linkedin last week, Halloween is not just for kids anymore!

Here are the latest insights and stats on College Students, Costumes, Candy and All Things Creepy

Millennial Insights


Takeaways from the PR News Social Media Summit

Earlier this week, I had the chance to immerse myself in the #powerofPR at the PR News Social Media Summit in New York.

It’s always great to get out from behind my computer screen … and talk about what people do behind their computer screens and on their mobile devices!

What can I say? Once a marketer, always a marketer.

It’s well worth your time to check out all of the goodies from the conference, with insights from brilliant agencies and powerful consumer brands like KIND Snacks, MasterCard, Post Foods and Nissan North America.

Here are :

Posting is not enough. Engage, engage, engage.

We need to connect with our readers in relevant ways, on an emotional level. When we do that, the shares happen naturally.

To continue reading additional takeaways, click here.

Ready, Set, HUT!

Can you hear that…? The sound of roaring cheers in the distance. The crunch of plastic shoulder pads colliding with one another. The footsteps of tens of thousands of sneakers and cleats making their way up the stadium steps. It’s time for college football, and we’re gearing up.

In July, we asked students about how excited they were for football season (hint: VERY), and how they prepare for, watch, and tailgate at football games. Here’s what they had to say…

The Basics

Football “Super-fans” are not hard to find – 20% of football fans attend every home game at their school’s college football stadium

Fandom doesn’t end when you receive your diploma – 60% of alumni football fans attend football games at least once each season and they watch from home for 2 or more games during the season.

A colored t-shirt isn’t enough for true college football fans – Although most students (72%) wear generic college t-shirts to games, nearly 20% wear face-paint or temporary tattoos, and 18% bring accessories like foam fingers and pom-poms!


A new trend among football fans is homegating (i.e. tailgating from home). With rising ticket costs and growing TV screen sizes, homegating is a great alternative to leaving the house while still supporting your team.  Most students, if they’re not at the stadium, will watch the game from their dorm, a friend’s dorm, or a nearby restaurant, and in most cases, these homegating parties are with multiple other students.

Some of the food being eaten at these homegating parties?

Millennials Football








Brands and Football

83% of students report using social media during football games, whether they are at the game or watching from home, and most (70%) show interest in engaging with brand during the game.

This presents a huge opportunity for brands to participate in the game with timely and shareable content.

  • The social media channels to focus on? Here are the top three:

social media






  • BONUS: The most popular game before the game among students? CORNHOLE.
    • 60% of tailgating students play Cornhole, which is even more popular than catch football.
    • Hear that, brand managers? Drive over to Home Depot and pick up some wooden boards for your next tailgating event.

See you at the game!

We LOVE School Supplies!

Back to School Supplies Are Awesome!

It’s that time of year, back to school season has started, and all of the latest and greatest school supplies are out.  I don’t know about you, but to me there is nothing better than a brand new notebook, or a stylish new accessory to spruce up the good old desk.  I guess that’s part of what draws me to the college marketplace; I can still take part in “Back to School” and stock up on the latest school supply trends.  It’s no surprise when we partnered with Poppin to create a Back to School program, I was more than thrilled.

Taking a look at their creative inspired me, and that’s when I noticed it…

Unorganized desk

Please Note: This is not her actual desk!


How could you miss it, papers we piled high like snow on Mt. Everest!  It was the intern’s desk. I knew I had to step in, I mean after all organization is a stepping stone to success!

On the flip side, Carolyn shares:  I was excited, this was my first “real job” after college, and I was ready to dive in and start a career.  The transition was seamless I had an amazing team, and was working on some cool projects! There was just one small problem, I couldn’t seem to get myself organized!

In College, I always prided myself of my organization skills, but here I found myself struggling.  I don’t know what tipped her off, it could have been the papers stacked high, but my boss quickly stepped in.  I mean she literally went through every single piece of paper I had printed, and let me tell you there was a LOT of paper.  Then she forwards me this great Poppin Blog Article which showcases their top five desk necessitates.  Let’s just say I could use all five!

Our Top Tips on Organization:

  1. Paper scattered all over the desk does not look good! Do some spring cleaning!
  2. Ask yourself, do you really need a print out of an email sent to you 3 months ago?
  3. Invest in some great desk accessories, it’s a fun way to stay organized.

With brands like Poppin, there are fun ways to spruce up your desk while adding in your own personal style.

What’s our favorite?  It would have to be the Mint Dream desk set; it has a little bit of everything!

About the Authors

samantha evans


Samantha is a Senior Marketing Specialist.  She graduated from Fairleigh Dickenson University with a major in Marketing and a minor in Advertising.  She began her career at BNCM as a college intern, and enjoyed it so much, it grew into a permanent position.  Outside of the office, Samantha enjoys cooking, hosting dinner parties for friends at home, hiking with her husband and 2 pups, and doing anything adventurous outdoors.


Carolyn Gemra Photo
Carolyn Gemra is a Partnership Marketing Coordinator with BNCM. She is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University where she majored in Marketing. After working in Human Resources during the initial part of her career, she was drawn to BNCM because of their unique focus on the Millennial demographic and their emphasis on providing exceptional customer service. When she is not in the office, Carolyn enjoys scrapbooking, walking her rescue pup Tigger, and whipping up a batch of delicious “Crabbie” appetizers for her family and friends.


Snack Attack: Feeding College Student Sales Through Sampling

I’m not much of a math person. But, what I can tell you is this: free + food = happy college students.

It makes me happy, too. Who doesn’t love free food? But the college student equation is particularly important, because it reflects a population that eats a lot, has a significant discretionary income and is still building relationships with brands they trust.

And that’s why we chose the snacking habits and purchasing behaviors of college students as the subject of our latest in-depth research study, Snack Attack! Today, I want to focus on just a couple key statistics from the report.

About 70% of college students:

  • Eat 2-3 snacks per day
  • Purchase sweet snacks on impulse
  • Buy nutritious snacks for an energy boost

I’m pretty impressed by that number for nutritious snacks – well played, Millennials! But, I’m also impressed by the significant opportunity for consumer brands.

Students are literally hungry for convenient snack items, both to eat at home and take on the go. While price remains the #1 factor for students, they ranked convenience factors like “easy to eat and clean up,” “ability to eat quickly” and “ability to eat in one serving” almost as high.

So, how do brands establish their offerings as a snack of choice?

It all starts with getting products into their hot little hands.

To continue reading more about snacking and sampling, click here.

Back to School 2015 Partner Highlights

Events, Samples, Sponsorships – OH MY!

Our Back to School 2015 season was filled with so much excitement – here are some partners that helped our student’s transition back to school in a fun and interesting way!

DirecTV Ambassadors stopped by some of our campuses to talk to students about their exclusive offers for their NFL Sunday Ticket package, allowing students to stream their favorite NFL games live in their dorm room.


DirecTV at Louisiana State University


Hunter Boots sponsored VIP Nights at select schools and gave one lucky attendee a free pair of boots.

Hunter Boots

Hunter Boots at Texas Christian University on VIP Night

Poppin made it easy for students to get organized for their first day of class and get in back to school mode!


Poppin at Kean University

Ice Breakers broke the mold of the ultimate candy/gum twist with their new “Cool Blast” Mint Chews.

Ice Breakers

Ice Breakers Samples being handed out at Ohio State University

Goodness Knows Brand Ambassadors embarked on hundreds of campuses to test out their new Cranberry snack bars, which was a huge success!

Goodness Knows

Goodness Knows’ Brand Ambassadors at Houston Community College

Students LOVE engaging with brands all year long, don’t forget about Midterms, Finals, Spring Semester, Spring Break and Graduation!

About the Author:

Carolyn Gemra Photo

Carolyn Gemra is a Partnership Marketing Coordinator with BNCM. She is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University where she majored in Marketing. After working in Human Resources during the initial part of her career, she was drawn to BNCM because of their unique focus on the Millennial demographic and their emphasis on providing exceptional customer service. When she is not in the office, Carolyn enjoys scrapbooking, walking her rescue pup Tigger, and whipping up a batch of delicious “Crabbie” appetizers for her family and friends.

Millennial Snacking Insights by Marie Policastro

We recently conducted a research study on college student snacking habits, and there’s no doubt about one thing: students have a healthy appetite. Not only do most eat multiple snacks in a day, but almost 70 percent eat two or three. And, they’re surprisingly interested in nutritious snacks.

The study really gave us a broad range of valuable insights on what students are eating, when and why. A lot of their habits really come down to their lifestyle. Sure, many told us that they snack when they’re hungry, but they also mentioned other factors that have a direct impact.

  • 51 percent eat because they’re bored
  • 50 percent use snacks to help them concentrate while studying
  • 46 percent replace a meal with a snack

It comes as no surprise, then, that 52 percent of students snack on the go. They’re busy; they’re in transit; they’re procrastinating; they’re deep in the books.

That stat also informs a finding that we found very interesting: what students prioritize when choosing a snack. Price is always a key differentiator for this demographic, so we weren’t surprised to see that 72 percent of students designated price as very or extremely important. However, “easy to eat and clean up” ranked almost as important, at 71 percent. Convenience, in fact, dominated this response, with over half of students also citing “ability to eat quickly” and “ability to eat in one serving.”

To read more about what millennials are snacking on, click here.

millennial research

Millennial Musings – Cars & College Students

Here at BNCM, we spend our days thinking about all things millennial. As experts in this market, we are able to “cut through the noise”, and focus on the information that is most helpful and relevant to our partners, so that we can help them build strong and lasting relationships with this influential demographic. Along the way, we want to share some of our “Millennial Musings” on the latest news, research and trends to help our partners gain deeper insights into this unique generation.

Staying Ahead of the Curve – Brands that Embrace the Millennial Spirit

Lexus Redefines the Millennial Customer’s Buying Experience

Earlier this year, Barnes & Noble College Research completed a study that revealed 58% of college students say they will likely purchase a car in the next five years. The automotive industry is ripe for growth, if they know how to engage with a younger, up-and-coming audience, and build lasting relationships with this powerful demographic.

auto research

There are several brands that are actively and aggressively blazing a path towards more engagement with their millennial customers. Lexus is one such brand. In a recent article from The Washington Post, Lexus announced that the automaker will be phasing out the traditional practice of haggling, in favor of a no-negotiation price program that will appeal to their millennial customers.

While the program will roll out through a small, volunteer network of dealerships in both metropolitan and suburban markets, it is part of a larger effort to more closely align with the needs of their millennial customers in the coming years.

Barnes & Noble College Research notes that when it comes to buying a car, 66% of college students are intimidated by haggling over price. We were encouraged to learn that car maker Lexus has also found that the practice of haggling is not only off-putting to their millennial customers, but that it is a great deterrent to millennial customers physically walking into a dealership. “We know from some of the research that we do that there are a lot of young folks that are not so intrigued by the traditional negotiation process,” said Jeff Bracken, group vice president of Toyota USA’s Lexus division.[i]

Because millennial customers can independently compare prices, features, and options online, they place a high value on transparency in all of their purchasing decisions. This has marginalized the role of the salesperson in the car buying process. Lexus understands this trend, and know that they must act quickly to capitalize on the changing customer landscape. They are actively seeking creative alternatives that could both attract new customers and build lasting customer relationships.

Lexus is a great example of a company that is not afraid to embrace the changing dynamics of their future customers’ needs by learning to leverage the many unique characteristics that define the millennial demographic and developing creative alternatives to business as usual.

To read the full article:


[i] Halzack, Sarah. “Lexus May Change How It Sells Cars – Because It Finds Millennials Hate to Haggle.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 6 Sept. 2015. Web. 17 Aug. 2015.



College Student Snacking

What’s Hot in Snacking

As featured in Snack Attack, Lisa Shapiro, Barnes & Noble College’s Director of Café and Convenience, weighed in on key trends sweeping the industry and what’s scoring big with students at campus bookstores.

From the campus bookstore perspective, where are you seeing the greatest sales increases?
Thinking about sales increases, two categories stand out: fresh food and nutrition bars. I think fresh foods are on the rise because we offer students a lot of variety – from breakfast options to mid-day snacks to dinner on the run – and there are many healthy choices.

We also make a point to merchandise so that it’s easy for students to make a quick decision. And, we help them save money through a Savings for Your Cravings value program and other promotions. Nutrition bars also are incredibly popular with students, which makes sense – they’re very versatile, offering an inexpensive snack or meal replacement at any time of day. They’re also portable and easy to eat, but they still can offer an energy boost or nutritional benefits like protein and vitamins.

What are the hottest flavors on the market right now?
Breakfast flavors are incredibly popular – and not just at breakfast time. We’re seeing a rise in flavors like blueberry muffin, maple syrup and bacon for products that sell in all dayparts.

It’s also been interesting to watch the latest trends in fruit flavors, which get very specific – not just orange, but blood orange. Meyer lemon and granny apple. All are bolder than other fruit flavors. And, students enjoy modern takes on classic childhood treats, which we’ve seen in the form of flavors like birthday cake and root beer float.

What trends are you seeing in how students are snacking?
Three immediately come to mind in terms of what students are looking for in their snack experience.
1. Customization: students like to control the proportions of their food, including spreads and snacks you can dip. We first saw the demand as one of five exclusive retailers to launch the Nutella® & GO! products in the U.S., and now with newer options such as Reese’s Spreads Snacksters.
2. Function: it’s true that students pay attention to nutrition, and they are very interested in snack options that taste good as well as offer health benefits. We offer a number of these popular snack items, from gummies with protein or Vitamin C to snack mixes with probiotics.
3. Evolution: mini or snack-sized candies have been popular for a while now; they’re portable, easy to eat and offer good portion control. The next wave of sweet snacks evolved straight from minis: thins. We see interest in cookie and brownie crisps as well as candy thins.

Download Snack Attack Report