Lowering the Sonic boom on the competition

(Edmonton) To say that Mike Holmes and Maya Cieszynska don’t believe in sticking to the script is not an exaggeration.

Hours before they were to present their ideas at the 2011 Canada’s Next Top Ad Executive competition in Toronto, they made some changes to their presentation. Obviously, the gamble paid off. Holmes and Cieszynska beat out nine other teams of business students across Canada at the final in Toronto last week, marking the first time students from the University of Alberta have come away with this title.

“I think we walked in a little scared, a little uncertain,” said Holmes. “We were stunned at the reaction we got, actually. We got some very positive feedback after our presentation.”

As part of the competition, participants had to develop a multi-dimensional marketing campaign that would build awareness and help launch a new compact automobile, the Chevrolet Sonic.

The win means that both students walk away with brand new Sonics, once the vehicle rolls off the production line later this year, as well as a wealth of opportunities afforded the winners. Cieszynska, who graduates this year, was already interviewing in Toronto this week; Holmes has another year to graduate but is sure that the win will still serve as a valuable mention on his resume.

“Just being able to say that you came in first in this competition holds tremendous weight with people in the industry,” said Holmes. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

While this is not the first time that the two have teamed up together, with Cieszynska graduating, it will most likely be the last. With a year of university still to go, Holmes jokingly wonders whether he should quit while he is ahead. “There is a part of me that is tempted to throw in another submission for next year.”