Herd, Flock Lead the Way

Richards’ Cows, Church Dominate Dallas Tops
By Glen Fest
DALLAS–The conspiratorial cows of Chik-fil-A and a cartoon teenager who chooses a grisly death over a day at church helped The Richards Group here sweep the best of show honors at the 1998 Dallas Ad League Tops Awards last week.
Richards also dominated the competition’s gold awards, winning 19 of 31 presented last Friday. GSD&M of Austin, Texas, placed second with six gold awards at the 90-minute ceremony. The event serves as the local level of the District 10 American Advertising Federation Addy awards.
Richards’ best of show honor was for its entire Chik-fil-A campaign, in which cows urge humans to “Eat mor chickin’ ” in print, television, outdoor and collateral pieces.
Named best of broadcast was a controversial 30-second TV spot by Richards for the Episcopal New Church Center in Walkersville, Md. Perhaps helping in its ascent was a judging panel that included Fallon McElligot’s irreverent Miller Lite team of Linus Karlsson and Paul Malmstrom.
The commercial was animated by J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, which brought to life the “Ambiguously Gay Duo” for Saturday Night Live and “Speed Racer” for a 1996 Volkswagen ad. It shows a young teen who chooses to kill himself in traffic–standing in the road, arms raised to resemble a cross–rather than attend an afternoon of hellfire sermons at his parents’ place of worship.
The Episcopal New Church Center wanted to attract parishioners normally turned off by judgmental preaching, and apparently liked the results: its attendance increased despite drawing numerous complaints about the commercial.
Notably absent from the Tops show was DDB Needham Dallas, which passed on submitting entries this year.
Six other entrants earned gold awards, with CPS Group, KERA-TV Channel 13, Meyer & Johnson, Publicis and Levenson & Hill, all of Dallas, and McGarrah/Jesse in Austin each winning one.