By Eleftheria Parpis
The American Association of Advertising Agencies' O'Toole Awards for Creative Excellence were held during Advertising Week for the first time. On Monday night, at a ceremony at the Nokia Theatre, five agencies were honored: BBDO New York won for large agency; Bartle Bogle Hegarty for midsize agency; Barrie D'Rozario Murphy for small agency; Ogilvy North America in the national public service category; McKinney for local public service. VCU Brandcenter was also honored in the new category of portfolio school.
"I love the O'Tooles. They were probably the first national recognition we ever got when we were a finalist back in '91," said Chuck Porter, co-chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky and chair of the 4A's Creative Committee.
Porter spearheaded several changes to the O'Toole program this year. The trophy has been redesigned and now weighs nearly 40 pounds, making the O'Toole award the biggest trophy in advertising. Previously limited to 4A's member agencies, the competition is now open to all agencies, including international. Judging was done by past agency winners. In addition to the new portfolio-school category, the public-service category was broken into two groups: national and local. "The changes this year are pretty dramatic," said Porter. "What hasn't changed is that the O'Tooles are still the only awards that recognize an agency's overall creative excellence, rather than just one campaign. One hot idea won't win this award. You have to be very good, again and again and again."
Clear Channel Communications awarded $1 million in free advertising across the company's radio, digital and outdoor platforms to the winners in the four top categories: BBDO, BBH and Barrie D'Rozario Murphy received $300,000 each. Ogilvy North America received $100,000.