Olson Steals Show in Twin Cities

Gophers Spots Top Competition; Market’s 2 Largest Shops Absent
MINNEAPOLIS–Olson + Co., an agency with only 18 employees, took home Best of Show honors in this year’s The Show, the Twin Cities’ advertising awards competition.
The agency’s winning campaign, the “Soccer, Softball, Volleyball” TV effort for the University of Minnesota’s women’s sports teams, features a zealous fan chastising those who don’t follow the women Gophers.
“It had a spontaneous stream of consciousness about it,” said Brian Grant, senior art director for Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, a judge for the competition.
In addition to Best of Show, the Minneapolis agency took home 11 other awards, including four golds and three silvers.
Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis collected the most awards, 78, including seven golds and 14 silvers. Martin/Williams, also in Minneapolis, won 42 awards, among them eight silvers and 21 bronzes.
This year’s show was not without controversy, as the Twin Cities’ two largest agencies, Fallon McElligott and Campbell Mithun Esty, declined to participate. The abstentions, particularly that of creative powerhouse Fallon, kept much top-notch work out of the show. In explaining CME’s decision in June, then creative chief Jim White said he was philosophically opposed to award shows; sources said Fallon felt its domination of the competition in years past diminished the show’s impact [Adweek, June 14].
Calling the absence of the agencies “sad,” Grant nonetheless said the caliber of the
other shops’ work remained high.
“There’s a nice bandwidth of work coming out of Minnesota,” he said. “The TV was very fresh, and there was a lot of work pushing in different directions.”
The other judges were: Brian Booker of GSD&M, Austin, Texas; Ian Cohen of Wieden and Kennedy, Portland, Ore.; Candance Daigle of Daigle Design, Seattle; and Brain Hickling of Leo Burnett’s Toronto office.
The Show, in its 25th year, is sponsored by the Advertising Federation of Minnesota and the Art Directors/Copywriters Club.