Ben Witten and Rob Chen, two students at the William E. Simon School of Business, are trying to change the face of event promotion. They want to tear down the seriousness of business and add some farce. Their vehicle for this change? BdubD Enterprises.
The duo graduated from UR as undergraduates in 2011, but Witten and Chen did not meet until entering the Simon School, where both are studying marketing and pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration in entrepreneurship. The two “became fast friends,” according to Witten.
“We actually grew up about three miles away from each other in D.C. and quickly found that we share many of the same attitudes and mentalities about everything from sports to academics to career ambitions to partying,” he said. “Overall, I would say that we just have a very similar outlook on life.”
This similar outlook prompted the pair to start BdubD Enterprises, which began as a joke within a small group of friends in the summer of 2011.
“In the early days, we were throwing house parties and just running fun campaigns to try and attract some attention on Facebook to get people to come have a good time,” Chen explained.
They would use funny Facebook messages, pictures and fake sponsors to attract attention.
These tactics worked. Witten and Chen’s parties grew in scope and elaborateness.
“After a number of successes, we began to realize that we truly enjoyed this line of work and decided to become more serious,” Witten said.
Thus, the two of them launched BdubD Enterprises, claiming that their unique and light-hearted approach to event promotion is what sets their company apart from similar organizations.
“Above all, we adhere to infusing everything we do with a goofy, almost satirical approach to business professionalism, which we find so many people around us take way too seriously,” Chen said.
The company focuses on promoting events like bar parties, though they would like to expand and work for concerts and other happenings as well.
All of their pursuits are currently geared toward college students.
“Right now, we’re tailored specifically for college students because they are our target segment and we consider ourselves a part of that segment,” Chen explained.
Witten added that the ties to college students have helped with connections.
Currently, the company is largely using digital promotions for events, and Witten and Chen are still sticking to their token silliness.
“We’re all about the goofy Facebook campaigns,” Chen said. “We’ve also recently hit YouTube in the last couple weeks.”
The first major event that BdubD Enterprises promoted was “Project Blackout,” a bar party held at ONE Nightclub and Lounge in the East End of Rochester on Tuesday, April 24. Prior to the event, Witten and Chen were “super nervous,” but hoped for a successful event.
“This has been the most extensive, deeply researched and time-consuming [campaign],” Chen said. He also noted that the outcome of the party would show “how far [they’ve] come and how far [they] can go, or how much farther [they] have to go.”
Witten and Chen said that Project Blackout is just the beginning — they plan to promote many events in the coming year.
BdubD Enterprises will be exclusively in Rochester for the next year and a half as the two finish their degrees, but they would like to see the company expand to other cities in the future.
“Ultimately, we want to be the go-to agency for event promotion, but that would be the top of the mountain,” Chen said. “In the meantime, we want to be one of the premiere agencies for event promotion.”
Hansler is a member of the class of 2015.