Playing The L.A. Ad Game

A tune blares—reminiscent of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, like all the old game-show theme songs. Rob Schwartz and Lee Clow of TBWA\Chiat\Day are long-faced in the ersatz ’60s living-room set and Salvation Army clothes. Deutsch/LA’s Eric Hirshberg seems ecstatic. Davidandgoliath’s David Angelo, arms raised, is gloating.

Welcome to, the site for the Belding Awards. This year’s theme is the “L.A. Ad Game” (“Fun for all ages!”), developed by TBWA\C\D creatives and TBWA’s Tequila marketing wing and promoted by the four creatives and their mock-playing. “Angelo was euphoric because he’d just won the true ad game: He found out on the afternoon of the photo shoot that he’d defended Kia,” says Schwartz, now in his second year of chairing the Beldings. “See? Spin the spinner, find out that you re-won your car account, move ahead 10 spaces!”

To play, you move a pulsating brain game piece around the board. Each square is an inside joke: “Realize Chiat already did it in 1996. Lose a turn.” “Find client’s daughter doesn’t get it. Move back 6.” “Alex Bogusky’s assistant calls you. Move ahead 1.” “Go to Hal’s for a meat-and-Absolut packed lunch.” “It’s funny because it’s true,” says Schwartz. Perhaps the best endorsement is that it’s challenging PlayStation as the favored diversion at TBWA\C\D.