Arnold Tops Hatch for 5th Straight Year

BOSTON Arnold won its fifth consecutive best of show prize at the Francis W. Hatch Awards, scoring top honors last night for an interactive effort on behalf of former client Volkswagen of America. The work touted VW’s Passat.

The victory marked Arnold’s second straight Hatch best of show for VW since the client put the agency on notice last September, moving the business to Miami-based Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

In fact, Arnold has topped Hatch every year of the decade except for 2001, when Modernista! won for MTV.

Boston-based Arnold won bests at Hatch for VW in 2000 and 2003; it scored the top prizes in 2002 and 2004 on behalf of the American Legacy Foundation.

As for Arnold’s VW win this year, “We created 120 short films that function as metaphors for each feature of the car,” said Ron Lawner, chief creative officer at Arnold’s immediate corporate parent, Arnold Worldwide Partners. “Each film is made by a different artist and has its own style. Some are stop-motion animated like an old episode of Gumby, while others are shot like epic, but brief, films. The end result is a collage of work that people can sort of snack on as they see fit.”

Presented by the Ad Club of Boston, Hatch honors creativity among New England agencies and clients. The 46th annual ceremony took place at the newly renovated Back Bay Events Center.

All told, 251 awards were presented. Only five of those, however, were first-place gold bowls. (Last, year 16 golds were awarded, while 10 were presented in both 2003 and 2004.)

“I wouldn’t see the lack of gold as a negative. The higher the bar, the better the show,” said Hatch judge Tohru Oyasu, an acd at Young & Rubicam in Chicago.

Last night, Havas-owned Arnold won three gold bowls, while independent Modernista! in Boston and Interpublic Group’s Mullen in Wenham, Mass., each earned a single gold.

Arnold took home the most overall prizes, winning 89 awards.

IPG’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston earned 42 total awards. Mullen won 28. Independent Fort Franklin in Boston and Modernista! took home 14 and 12, respectively.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which works with Hill, Holliday, was feted as marketer of the year. Andrea Meola of Staples was honored as the most promising new talent. Connelly Partners won kudos for best photography for a Towle print campaign. Allen & Gerritsen won the “Work We Dig” prize for its “fuzzy sign” on behalf of Newtowne Grill.