Creative Awards: Divining Talent

The Addys tout national and regional excellence
On Day 1, Dad plans to get a big fat tax refund. By Day 17, he is a frazzled and paranoid wreck, defeated by the country’s serpentine tax code. The message: Use H&R Block. It’s easier. The spot by Young & Rubicam, Chicago, grabbed the best of show in broadcast prize at this year’s Addy awards for creative excellence, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation.
The judges, who gave nods to 105 ads out of 60,000 entries, also favored another Midwest shop, Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, which took the best of show in print award for an Altoids ad for Kraft Foods.
Creatives at Burnett designed the print campaign around the slogan “Curiously strong mints,” which has appeared on Altoids boxes for 100 years. By combining the slogan with catchy lines such as “Luckily not available in extra strength” and “Our mints can beat up your mints,” the client increased sales by 43 percent.
“Sometimes, being a good creative means knowing what to keep,” says Stefan Postaer, Burnett’s ecd. “The smartest thing I did as a copywriter was not to write something.”
This year’s Addys, which represent a cross section of advertising ability, acquired increased importance. Today, there are more ad jobs available than qualified talent.
“For small-town agencies to successfully compete against the breadth of creative talent in the biggest markets,” notes Stephen Rogers, president of Bates Southwest and AAF’s national Addy chairman, “says a lot about the quality of talent outside our line of sight.”
In short, the Addys are the divining rod for anyone seeking to discover the next great art director, writer or creative director.
Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., captured 10 Addys for work done for PowerBar,, AltaVista and Nike. In the PowerBar spot, “A Grave Mistake,” one pallbearer loses his strength at a critical moment. As the coffin crashes to the ground and the body tumbles toward horrified family members, the tagline, “Don’t bonk,” appears.
“[That phrase] is an inside runner’s term for running out of energy,” says Wieden copywriter Brant Mau. “We really tried to show the wide variety of being pushed to the edge.”
The spot features Bob Newhart as a company head who makes products that hurt people. is picked as the firm capable of issuing quick product recalls.
GMO/Hill, Holliday, San Francisco, earned an Addy for a print ad celebrating nerds for the bookseller The tagline, “Because great minds think a lot,” plays off geek jokes without being insulting, says GMO president Nancy Hill.
Another print ad that garnered praise was a piece by GSD&M in Austin, Texas, to promote concerts in Zilker Park. The ad shows a squirrel holding a lighter in the dark, as if listening to an evening concert.
The awards were presented at AAF’s annual conference held last week in Las Vegas. K
Center stage:
GMO/Hill, Holliday, San Francisco, produced (left). GSD&M, Austin, Texas, created
“Concerts in the Park” for Zilker Park