Is Separate Equal at Addys?

In a move that is garnering heat from two local Hispanic agencies, the San Antonio chapter of the American Advertising Federation will judge and award Spanish-language work separately in next year’s Addy competition.
Proponents of the decision, as well as local and district AAF officials, said the intent was to improve the evaluation of non-English entries some feel have not received adequate examination in previous shows.
As it stands, Spanish- and English-language ads are pooled and judged together at the district, regional and national levels. Local chapters may opt for split judging.
John Aguillard, co-chairman of the AAF San Antonio chapter and himself Hispanic, said a committee appointed by the board of directors decided to enact the new format for the upcoming show as a trial run.
“It’s a tough [call],” said Aguillard, adding, “The committee is saying, ‘Let’s see how this operates,’ and not anything more than that.”
Bromley, Aguilar & Associates president Al Aguilar and Spark/KJS chairman Lionel Sosa both expressed disdain at the decision. “I think it’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard of,” said Sosa. “It excludes instead of includes . . . it’s an attempt to cut Hispanic advertising out of the mainstream.”
“A good ad is a good ad in any language,” said Aguilar, who argued that judging standards should be uniform at all levels.
AAF District 10 chairman Heberto Gutierrez, president of Inventiva, said he understood concerns that Hispanic ads would be relegated to also-ran status. But with non-Hispanic panelists, “there’s a possibility of misunderstanding [Latino ads] . . . I’m more in favor of in-language judges judging my work,” he said.
Gutierrez is heading a national AAF committee examining whether to enact split judging at the district, regional and national levels.