On a chilly but clear Thursday night in the Windy City, a couple of hundred ad people convened on the top floor of the Museum of Broadcast Communications for the 2103 Chicago Addy Awards.
It was a great space for a party. Plus, the show organizers had plenty of drink and food stations set up, and there were ample amounts of both to go around, which seemed to put everyone in a very convivial mood.
But of course, despite these very positive aspects of the evening, when we got around to the actual awards ceremony itself about 60 minutes into the night, things started to turn sour very quickly.
First and foremost, there was that perennial problem at Chicago advertising awards show — a tendency toward rudeness that just doesn’t seem to go away. As soon as the awards began to be announced and presented, one might have expected the room to grow reasonably silent out of respect for the winners.
If anything, the decibel level got worse — despite a sound system turned up to a point that should have made it easy for everyone to hear had they bothered to shut up.
But they didn’t.
Maybe it was because most of those present already knew what quickly became apparent to us — it was another landslide night for Leo Burnett. Sound like deja vu? Though we weren’t at last year’s show, Burnett took home most of the gold and a lot of everything else last year as well.
A year later the story’s the same. Hmmmm. If this is what the judges truly believed to be the best work submitted for their consideration this year, who’s to begrudge Burnett its prizes.
But what was troubling about it all was that Burnett won the top Gold Addy in the television category for its “Mayhem,” campaign for Allstate — hardly a fresh effort that would suggest Chicago is turning out lots of exciting new work. Come on. It does not look great when a campaign that is several years old keeps winning.
There was also a lot of brouhaha and attention and awards hardware given to a campaign Arc and Burnett collaborated on for Chicago Shakespeare Theater. It had its clever aspects, including a brief live performance of a scene from the Stephen Sondheim musical “Sunday in the Park with George” at the Art Institute. But the fact that it won in multiple categories suggests it must not have been up against much of anything.
Agency of the Year surprising selection criterion
In last Thursday’s column, we tried to handicap the Agency of the Year category — new this year, and, from our perspective, an interesting addition.
Well, again, it turns out we probably shouldn’t have gone to all the trouble. Because just before the winner of the Agency of the Year award was announced, the criteria for selecting a winner were revealed.
A key criterion, so we were told, was the number of submissions an agency made to the awards show. That bit of information, coupled with the fact Burnett already had won a boatload of awards, made it instantly clear Burnett and sibling Arc would nab the Agency of the Year honor.
And they did.
There were a couple of other things worth noting. Much has been made over the past year about efforts to turn around DDB/Chicago. If the shop is turned around, it apparently has wound up with little or no interest in competing in a local awards competition. We couldn’t find the agency’s name mentioned even once among the list of winners in the souvenir program.
Credle should’ve won for Best Dressed
There was an award — had one been given for it — that Burnett deserved to win hands down. That would be for most fashionable outfit of the evening. That honor goes to Burnett Chief Creative Officer Susan Credle, who looked smashing in a brown knee length dress with a cutaway black frilly coat over it that reached down to her very smart shoes.
For a second, we thought maybe we had wandered in to a Paris runway show by mistake. Credle told us she acquired the outfit at a small shop in Streeterville that specializes in fashions from Canadian designers.
Sorry, we didn’t get the name of the shop. The noise level of the chatting masses around us was too great.
Contact Lewis Lazare@LewisL3@aol.com
PLEASE NOTE: This column will be on hiatus for the next couple of weeks. Hope to see you back here in early April.