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2018 Big Ad Challenge teams

Airport Health Club

Alazay Fox

Mary Ann Alesia

Alejandro Gutierrez

Bikram Yoga of Santa Rosa

Jasmine Hickox

Gianna Grillo

Julia Dearing

Carlotta Averill

California Team Wear

Shae Defty

Evelyn Salazar

Evelyn Garcia

Emily Loen

Cookie ... take a bite!

Richie Lucov

Christopher Jones

Makeylah Hernandez

Costeaux French Bakery

Marlon Salonga

Stacey Cushing

Lily Zarate

Madeline Mandujano

Cowbells.com

Osvaldo Cervantes

Gabe Werthimer

John Manalo

Dante Orlandini

Empire Optometry

Jesus Maldonado

Efren Alvarez

Burst Photo Booth

Raphy Genty

Le Jardin Violet

Franchesca Rios

Kaitlin Miller

Crizelle Dumalig

Napa Valley College Estate Wines

Owen Davis

Nicole Marinoff

Kendrick Jaramillo

Santa Rosa Junior College students came out on top again in the annual Big Ad Challenge, with a promotional advertising and marketing plan for Bikram Yoga of Santa Rosa whimsically showing how business professionals can practice yoga on the job to relieve stress — as well as in a studio.

Their attention-getting advertising mock-ups displayed office workers in business attire stretching in an “Anti-Meeting Pose,” meditating with legs crossed in a “Deadline Pushed Up Pose,” and doing a modified hand stand on a desk while looking at a laptop and assuming a “Working Overtime Pose.”

This is the fourth time an SRJC team has been selected to receive this award since the program’s inception in 2015. Eleven teams from three colleges delivered six-minute presentations to a panel of five judges in December. SRJC fielded seven teams, Napa Valley College three, and Sonoma State University one.

Each group selected a company to research from a list of 24 firms. Participation was open to small businesses in Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Solano counties.

This annual competition is designed to give advertising, marketing and graphic design students real world experience while also providing a way for a small firm (under 500 employees) to expand its marketing and brand awareness efforts.

The winning team receives a $500 prize, and the company they paired with receives advertising valued at $25,000 with the North Bay Business Journal in 2019. This challenge is co-sponsored by the North Bay Business Journal and Wells Fargo Bank.

Kelly Windsor, adjunct instructor in SRJC’s Business Department, coordinated the Ad Challenge for students. She said this challenge gives students an opportunity to translate book and lecture instruction into practice for a company, complete with deadlines, and the creation of a real ad campaign. They conducted background research and applied creative marketing and advertising principles to develop an outreach strategy designed to positively attract new business-sector clients.

One person on judging panel, Tom Boylan, owner of the Boylan Point Agency, said, “Several presentations were quite impressive, very informative and well laid out. It was tough picking a final winner since the CowBells.com team’s plan was also fun, witty and enjoyable. However, the Bikram Yoga SRJC team had a creative approach that covered virtually all of the bases and had a lot of 1’s and 2’s in the judges rankings.”

He looked for how well the teams understood their client’s products or services, how they would address what each company wanted to get from the campaign, as part of a rate of return. For Boylan, the key is finding ways to engage people with the ad campaign’s photos and copy that will strike a response chord, and a call to action among those who see it.

Fellow judge Heather Mackin, principal with Mackin Creative, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed being part of judging panel. I especially loved the fact that SRJC’s Bikram Yoga team used humor and amusing visual situations that tapped into the business market by conveying the concept of doing yoga exercises at work. They really nailed it.”

She said SRJC’s winning team also understood the budgeting process and articulated how businesses today could change by offering a fresh design for the future in order to attract and retain their workforce.

“With a new model for our economy populated by millennials with different desires and needs, adding Bikram Yoga to a firm’s benefits package is a viable idea.”

2018 Big Ad Challenge teams

Airport Health Club

Alazay Fox

Mary Ann Alesia

Alejandro Gutierrez

Bikram Yoga of Santa Rosa

Jasmine Hickox

Gianna Grillo

Julia Dearing

Carlotta Averill

California Team Wear

Shae Defty

Evelyn Salazar

Evelyn Garcia

Emily Loen

Cookie ... take a bite!

Richie Lucov

Christopher Jones

Makeylah Hernandez

Costeaux French Bakery

Marlon Salonga

Stacey Cushing

Lily Zarate

Madeline Mandujano

Cowbells.com

Osvaldo Cervantes

Gabe Werthimer

John Manalo

Dante Orlandini

Empire Optometry

Jesus Maldonado

Efren Alvarez

Burst Photo Booth

Raphy Genty

Le Jardin Violet

Franchesca Rios

Kaitlin Miller

Crizelle Dumalig

Napa Valley College Estate Wines

Owen Davis

Nicole Marinoff

Kendrick Jaramillo

Rebecca Pennington, owner of locally operated Bikram Yoga at 522 Wilson St. in Santa Rosa’s Old Railroad Square, said it was awesome to win.

“This is an incredible program," Pennington said. "I went to meetings at SRJC two times to brainstorm and talk with students developing our ad campaign. They asked a lot of in-depth questions about my business. I also met with them again after the presentations to tell them how well they did.”

Pennington said Bikram Yoga was established 19 years ago and that she bought the business in 2011. The main studio has capacity for 46 members who take 49 yoga, Pilates and fitness classes a week. Bikram welcomes between 220 and 250 people a day supported by a staff of 16 teachers and three administrative employees with sessions scheduled from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekends.

The studio offers all levels of Bikram Yoga and Hot Pilates programs. There is a Kid’s Club and Kid’s Yoga, Happy Hour Yoga, Express Yoga along with specialized elite and focused sessions.

Bikram Yoga was founded by Bikram Choudhury, also the founder of the Yoga College of India. In 2012, there were 330 Bikram Yoga studios in the U.S. and about 600 worldwide.


From Brad Bollnger, Business Journal publisher

Once again this year, the Business Journal and Wells Fargo challenged students from Santa Rosa Junior College, Napa Valley College, and Sonoma State University to create marketing plans to help area small businesses and organizations get their message out to the public.

Eleven student teams and organizations took us up on the challenge as part of our fourth Big Ad Challenge.

This year, for the fourth year in a row, a dynamic team from Santa Rosa Junior College created the winning campaign for Bikram Yoga of Santa Rosa.

Again this year, the Business Journal and our partner, Wells Fargo, will provide $25,000 in BtoB print, digital and events advertising to help carry out that campaign.

We, as well as our partner, Wells Fargo, are thrilled to be able to offer the opportunity to link the work of creative, enthusiastic students to the business community through our Big Ad Challenge. The Business Journal and Wells Fargo would like to thank the schools, the judges, students and all the businesses and organizations for participating. And once again congratulations to the team from Santa Rosa Junior College.


From Thomas Sands, Wells Fargo Northern California region president

Wells Fargo is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Big Ad Challenge. For the last four years, our support has allowed us to make a difference with small businesses in our community, while also supporting the students who participate in the program.

Working with small business owners is one of the most important things we do because we want to be a part of the solution to help them grow their business. Our long-term success is directly linked to the success of the communities we serve.