Santa Rosa Junior College students win Sonoma Humane Society advertising campaign
A three-student team from Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) was selected for having the winning promotional campaign for the Sonoma Humane Society during the second annual 2016 Createathon.
The contest attracted 80 students from two North Bay universities and SRJC. They worked with 16 small businesses in the region. The winner receives a $25,000 print advertising prize from the North Bay Business Journal. This is the second year the prize has gone to a team from SRJC.
Albert Yu, team coordinator and SRJC business instructor and Hospitality Program director, worked with students Philip Bruno, Nohely Macias and Marisa Mays since last October as they developed the advertising campaign.
“These young people in our advertising class impressed me with their style of delivery, poise, calm demeanor and especially how they systematically identified the Humane Society’s target market, supported the nonprofit’s brand and laid out a viable, targeted advertising strategy with deliverables,” Yu said.
“Other forms of higher education typically approach learning through theory and textbooks. This competition introduces a practical exercise into the mix showing how to craft a program that can produce results a business is looking for – in this case, by seeking to raise awareness of the Humane Society, its low-cost spay and neuter services, as well as veterinary hospital, while also helping to increase animal adoptions, highlight the pet re-homing program and gain community buy-in, volunteer and donation support.”
Proposal writing, PowerPoint graphic design and nearly a month of rehearsals to prepare for the opportunity to sell their campaign strategy to judges at the Sonoma Mountain Village Events Center on Dec. 6 followed the fact-finding phase.
Ranking each team’s campaign on a scale from 1 to 10 in seven categories, judges looked for how prominent and consistent the client’s branding was portrayed; how visually arresting are the ad(s); how well did the design guide the reader through the ad; how well did the campaign meet the client’s business goals; along with their assessment of each team’s overall campaign and the entire presentation.
Some 31 nominations were received and 20 were chosen. Sixteen teams, each focusing on one of 16 participating North Bay firms, pitched their campaign proposals to a panel. Judges included: Chris Denny, president, The Engine is Red; Lisa Mattson, director of Marketing and Communications, Jordan Vineyard and Winery; Nancy Cech, vice president of Agency Relations Management, Wells Fargo Bank; and Brad Bollinger, publisher, The North Bay Business Journal.
“I was shocked when we won,” said Bruno, who spent a lot of time with their client gathering background information on the Sonoma Humane Society and was a key proposal writer.
“This was an exciting, true-life experience enhanced by excellent communication and teamwork. We held true to our clients brand, image and goals and developed tag lines and visually-appealing photos that carried compelling, call-to-action messages.”
The winning team used experiences with their own pets in developing ad concepts. These pets ultimately became the stars – and models – for each creative approach and design treatment showcased in mockup ads during the presentation to judges.
Messages included in a caption under a lovable photo of Tobbie, the husky, saying “Help me, help you.”
Another showed a man sitting on a couch munching on potato chips with his arm around a cat with a bag of pet treats saying, “Found my human.” There is a picture of a cute, wide-eyed dachshund sitting in a chair at a dinner table in front of a bowl of kibble with the caption, “Date night,” as well as an adorable, small bulldog on a blanket under the headline, “Got puppy fever? We have a cure.”
Mascias said participating in this project gave her the confidence she needed to deliver a presentation.
“I kept saying, you can do this, but it’s always nice to be part of a group. Taking part in this competition convinced me that business is the right path for me. We’re all animal lovers and our emotional campaign really pull at reader’s heart strings.”
According to Mays, the team’s photographer, graphic designer and budgeting go-to person, “I had been wondering if I should pursue a marketing career and this contest tipped the scales in that direction. I have a jewelry business where photography is essential for marketing and a key element of customer sales success. I now appreciate all of the pieces that have to come together in creating an effective, award-winning ad campaign.”