Why We Still Enter the ADDY Awards


For whatever reason, there’s been a very noticeable drop in the number of actual advertising agencies submitting award entries into the annual American Advertising Federation (AAF)-Madison local ADDY Awards competition. I should note that Milwaukee hasn’t had an AAF chapter in more than a decade, so in the recent past Milwaukee agencies have also entered the Madison chapter awards in order to have access to winning Regional and National ADDY Awards. The ADDY is still one of the most prestigious awards to win in our industry and based on my observations when I attended the National ADDY ceremony in Florida two years ago, most of the major Madison Avenue agencies still participate. Why then don’t a lot of the local agencies? I get that submitting ADDY entries is expensive (around $85-$100 per entry) and time-consuming. When you’re busy trying to meet client deadlines, carving out a chunk of time to compile and submit awards can be challenging. I have to say, though, that the time factor has been much improved with the faster online entry system that AAF initiated and really perfected over the past couple of years.

There are two main reasons why AFFIRM is still an active participant in the ADDY’s – 1. Clients appreciate the recognition that their campaigns receive and it’s positive reinforcement to them for their efforts, and 2. Winning awards is great for staff morale, especially for younger creative and account staff who worked long, hard hours to plan, produce and execute a project or campaign. The ADDY submissions are judged by three advertising industry veterans brought in from other markets, so presumably there is no familiarity or favoritism shown to the entrants. So, when a submission wins a Gold or Silver ADDY, it feels like a legitimate honor recognizing work well done by both the agency and the client. So, that’s why AFFIRM still participates. A number of other agencies do as well, but it would be great to see other past participants to re-engage. I love winning awards, but if I’m going to lose, I’d rather have it be because the level of competition is the best it can be!


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