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The Richards Group Wins Mercury for Best Radio Spot

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A repeat Radio Mercury winner, The Richards Group took top honors at Wednesday's (June 17) Radio Mercury Awards for the best radio spot.

The Dallas-based shop took home $100,000 for its Motel 6 spot entitled DVD, part of the brand's long-running radio campaign.

The annual awards held in New York City also debuted to new award categories.  The first marketer of the year was awarded to McDonald's for the fast-food franchise's long commitment to radio. JWT took home the first-ever integrated campaign award for its JetBlue campaign.

Other winners included: Young & Rubicam New York for Office Depot; BBDO New York for AT&T; DDB Chicago for Anheuser-Busch; and Grupo Gallegos in the Spanish-Language Category for its Comcast spot titled “Epic.”

The awards were not without controversy. Winning spots were not selected for four categories, political, PSA, student produced, and radio station produced, because they did not meet the standards of the 14-judge panel headed by Rick Boyko, executive director of Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter. For days, radio stations voiced their outrage in the trades over the perceived slight on their business.

"I never heard of the Olympics canceling a medal event because none of the entrants were as good as previous champions," Lost Coast Communications president Patrick Cleary wrote in Radio Business Report, a daily publication. "None of these judges work for radio stations. They all work for ad agencies, and of course all the ad agency categories had winners."

In response, next year, the Mercury Awards will double the cash awards in those categories and introduce a "peoples choice" award voted by industry members.

The Radio Advertising Bureau also took the occasion to announce a new collaboration with the VCU Brandcenter to offer a creative workshop for radio stations.