‘Truth’ Campaign Rules Hatch

A hard-hitting campaign for the American Legacy Foundation from Arnold and Crispin Porter + Bogusky won best of show at last week’s 42nd annual Francis W. Hatch Awards.

In addition to best of show, the campaign for American Legacy’s “Truth” anti-smoking program garnered 23 total awards, including two golds in the public-service category. The effort is designed to alert the public to the dangerous chemicals in tobacco products. In the series’ “Rat Man” spot, an actor in a rat costume crawls out of a New York subway station, gasping for breath, holding a sign in his paws that reads, “There’s cyanide in cigarette smoke. Same as in rat poison.”

Boston’s Arnold develops American Legacy ads in alliance with CP+B of Miami.

“We felt the creative execution, coupled with the nontraditional approach to communicate the message, demonstrated the strength of their position,” said Hatch judge Bart Cleveland, creative director at Atlanta shop Sawyer Riley Compton, referring to the television spots being shot documentary-style. “When everyday people are exposed to the truth, you give them an opportunity to respond in a positive way.”

The “Truth” commercials, which have proven to be controversial, “deliver information about the ingredients in cigarettes … in a manner that is sure to turn heads,” said American Legacy president and chief executive officer Cheryl Healton last year when new executions were unveiled.

The final decision on best of show was a tough one, according to the judges; several rounds of debate took place before the panel selected a winner.

The other top contender was Arnold’s signature client, Volkswagen of America, which garnered five gold prizes at Hatch. A popularTV commercial in that campaign showed a man shopping for a new VW licking the car’s door lock and handle to dissuade other prospective buyers.

Arnold won or shared 103 total prizes, including seven golds, by far the best showing at Hatch 2002.

Taking home single gold awards were Euro RSCG Circle, Boston, for a corporate Web site for Mini USA; Group 3, Boston, for a public-service campaign for Friends of Boston’s Homeless; Mayes, Walsh & Partners, Boston, for an outdoor campaign for the Boston Star Trek Club; and Staples in Framingham, Mass, for posters created in-house.

Some notable regional agencies were passed over for golds: Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, won 54 silver, bronze and merit awards; Wenham, Mass.-based Mullen took home 41 prizes; and Modernista!, Boston, and Allen & Gerritsen, Watertown, Mass., each received 17 awards.

The event, sponsored by trade association Boston Idea Group, was held on Thursday at John Hancock Hall in Boston. Three hundred fifty-eight prizes were presented, including 11 gold, 51 silver and 153 bronze bowls. Nearly 1,000 marketing professionals attended the awards ceremony, which was hosted by former Arnold vice chairman John Verret, who now serves as a professor at Boston University’s College of Communication.