The Los Angeles Advertising Club's 32nd annual Belding Awards are undergoing some changes this year and, as usual, not without controversy.
The ad theme for the March 26 event at The Palace in Hollywood is "Selling out." The call for entries booklet, created by last year's Sweepstakes winner, TBWA Chiat/Day in Venice, Calif., is entitled "How to Sell Out--A Complete Guide for the Advertising Professional." Chapter headings include such titles as "Turning Awards Into Cold, Hard Cash."
Scott MacGregor and Mike McKay, the TBWA Chiat/Day creatives who developed the Belding ads, said the goal is to "tell the truth about award shows." Said copywriter McKay: "It's sort of an inside joke with creatives. You can use awards to make more money and sell out."
The new work might prove controversial, too. One print ad shows a gay couple arm in arm, with the heading: "Now that my boyfriend sold out, we've spent every weekend together."
Art director MacGregor said the creatives don't expect any protests. "Why should Ellen get all the exposure this year?" he asked.
Unlike the two-hour-plus shows of previous years, the Beldings this year will be an hour long. Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails will replace a sit-down dinner.
Rick Carpenter, managing director and chief creative officer at DDB Needham, Los Angeles, is this year's Belding chairman. "I'm very excited [about the show]," he said. "It's the one time of year to show off the tremendous skill we have in this market."