The decision to recognize Volkswagen of America as Advertiser of the Year at last week's Hatch Awards fell within the rules of the competition, which were recently changed to allow advertisers outside the region to be considered.
"Boston is really able to retain larger, national clients," explained Hilary Wheeler, manager of programs and events at the Advertising Club of Greater Boston. Requiring the client to be in New England limited the selection, she said.
One agency source said this year's field was expanded to include the non-New England car maker after the initial nominations proved to be less than impressive.
"It was a clear-cut decision," said Steve Connolly, president of Ingalls Advertising and chairman of the award selection committee.
Two special prizes were also handed out. The L.E. Sissman award, recognizing outstanding behind-the-scenes work, was given to Paul Wilson, who operates an eponymous studio in Boston where he airbrushes digital images for agencies.
The Bob Stacy Craftsperson award, honoring an advertising professional who has a second career in the arts, went to Bill Boch, a photographer and associate creative director at Arnold Communications in Boston. --Sarah Jones