Capacity crowd for May 16 AICE Awards, tix going fast!

AICE Chicago president Tom Duff

BUY YOUR AICE TICKETS NOW as the national Awards Show is reaching space capacity, advises Optimus’ Tom Duff, AICE Chicago chapter. The show will be held Thursday, May 16, throughout the entire Museum of Broadcast Communications: cocktail reception on the third floor, awards presentations on the fourth floor, and after-party on the second floor.

Duff says 460 guests are attending, as of today, and he and his team have secured 20 sponsorships for the event, seven of them from top agencies, in an expression of partnership with Chicago’s world-class post community.  The other sponsors “represent a good mixture of the industry,” and include post, music and design houses, and vendors.

Tickets are $200 and may be purchased (like today) at

BTW: This year marks Duff’s 10th anniversary as AICE Chicago chapter president.  He also led the national organization for four years. (Maybe honor him with a new golf shirt or a 5 iron?)

A MASSIVE WIN FOR PUBLICIS GROUPE!  Divisions Leo Burnett and Spark SMG won the HHGregg appliance retailer business – which spent more than $105 million on media last year.  Burnett is handling creative and Spark the media buys.  The Publicis companies competed in a review with DDB and Schafer Condon Carter, and incumbent agency, Zimmerman Advertising of Fort Lauderdale.

A STRONG CHICAGO AD CONTINGENT will be packing casual clothes for a weeklong sojourn in the South of France at the 60th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, June 16-22, where advertising industry leaders come to learn and “talk business in a casual way,” as Cutters’ Tim McGuire put it.

Cutters will have a major presence there with execs from all four offices.  They will stay in a beautiful old 6-bedroom villa the company rented, located just a five-minute walk from the Carlton Hotel where many of the workshops and events will take place. 

Besides McGuire, the Cutters groupe includes editor/partner Kathryn Hempel, EPs from each of its offices: Craig Duncan, Chicago; Mary Connelly, Detroit; Josieann Cote’, L.A., Timo, Tokyo, and Chris Rossiter, who heads Dictionary Pictures, Chicago.

Energy BBDO’s CCO Dan Fietsam and production head Rowley Samuel are annual Cannes attendees. Publicists Denise Potts Mueller and Angela Sheridon are also making a return visit. Directors’ reps with plane reservations are, so far, Nathan Skillicorn, Maureen Butler, KK Reps’ Christina Plunkett and Joanna Miller and @radical’s Chiara Chung.


RED CAR HAS GENEROUSLY DONATED its spacious River East facility overlooking the Chicago River and skyline as the venue for Free Spirit Media’s annual fundraiser, Thursday, May 30. 


Jeff McCarter, who founded the nonprofit in 2000 after a successful TV and movie career, expects around 300 guests. “We appreciate Red Car’s generosity and also that of the entire industry that helps nurture us,” he says.    


Free Media Spirit provides visual media education, access and opportunity to more than 500 underserved urban youth each year and also serves as a pathway into the industry, McCarter says.  “For us, it’s much more about life skills and we now have over 95% kids graduating from high school; 84% go onto college and about one-third study some area of media.”


DESIGN-FOCUSED LEVIATHAN principals Jason White, Chad Hutson and Matt Daley recently brought home top prizes from prestigious Houston and Toronto film festivals.  Their original short film, “Lilith,” won the Platinum Remi Award for Visual/Special Effects from the 46th WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. Two days later, Leviathan won Best Animation Award for its “Wooden Toy” project for Ninja Tune recording artist Amon Tobin, from the FITC Toronto Design and Technology Festival.

Coming up for White is his presentation at the first COLLIDER Digital Production Conference, June 9-11 in New York, which includes a job fair and master classes.

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