A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
May 10, 2007 Volume 37 / Number 7


Chico Students Win First Place in Advertising Competition

Bottom Row from Left: Bill McGowan, Jen Witz, Brie Leon, Christina Solomon, Jamie Varon & Ramsey Barnette. Top Row from Left: Victor Costa, Veronica Favela, Alicia Allen, Andie Larsen, J.J. Beard, Liz Santos, Kateland Weighall, Robert Ortegon & Billy Wilson.

Five marketing students came home from a regional competition in Fresno the last weekend in April singing “We Are the Champions” and carrying a 40-inch trophy they received for placing first with their Coca-Cola advertising campaign. The American Advertising Federation National Student Advertising Competition (AAFNSAC) sponsored the regional contest.

The five students—Christina Solomon, Brie Leon, Jamie Varon, Jen Witz, and Ramsey Barnette—represented a larger team of 23 students who called themselves “Inspired Solutions.” The team had been working on the advertising campaign since last September, under the direction of their advisors, Bill McGowan, Finance and Marketing, and Alan Rellaford, Communication Design. The challenge was to create an advertising campaign to turn around declining Coca-Cola Classic consumption patterns within a $15 million budget.

CSU, Chico’s team first conducted extensive research on a target market and created a media plan, commercials, print ads, and Internet ads, writing and designing a 32-page Advertising Plans Book. This was submitted to the AAFNSAC Washington, D.C., headquarters and the Fresno district headquarters on April 2.

The second part of the competition was a 20-minute presentation of the plan on Saturday, April 28, at the Lyles Convention Center. The competition included UC Berkeley, University of Nevada-Reno, San Jose State, Fresno State, University of San Francisco, and the Academy of Art, San Francisco. They addressed the same challenge presented by Coca-Cola. The judges who evaluated both components were four major advertising executives from the West Coast and a senior marketing manager from Coca-Cola.

The top three winners were CSU, Chico in first place, University of Nevada–Reno in second place and UC Berkeley in third place. In addition to the team win, the Top Presenter individual award went to team member Jamie Varon.

The Inspired Solutions team is composed of students from the College of Business (BUS) and the College of Communication and Education (CME). Students from the marketing option in BUS included Christina Solomon, Brie Leon, Jamie Varon, Jen Witz, Ramsey Barnette, Helen Finnegan, Jackie Hartman, Veronica Favela, Brittany Spencer, Kristen Palma, Byron Fiscus, Jennifer Ameigeiras, Kateland Weighall, Elizabeth Santos, and Alicia Allen.

Graphic designers from CME included Andrea (Andi) Larsen, Billy Wilson, Victor Costa, Jonathan Beard, Robert Ortegon, Brandon Brown, Catherine Oshiro, and Omar Mota.

“The graphic design team did an absolutely fantastic job on the layout and design of our 32-page plans book,” said McGowan. “It looks like it came from a San Francisco-based advertising firm.”

Next stop for the CSU, Chico champions is the AAFNSAC national competition in Louisville, Kentucky, June 7–9. “We’ll be ready to take our ‘show’ east!” said McGowan.

—Kathleen McPartland