Saturday, May 19, 2012

Excellence in Advertising

The Modern Fan Company – 2012 Excellence in Advertising Best in Class Campaign Award winner: Simple, powerful advertising; the composition, choice of color, and minimalism hit the mark.

Architectural Record has conducted its Excellence in Advertising Awards program every year since 1997. The magazine announced the winners of its 2012 competition this past Friday at the Grand Hyatt Washington during the 2012 AIA National Convention.

The Awards recognize the most effective ads in the building and design marketplace, and the companies and agencies that produce them.

I served as one of 10 jurors for the initial selection round of this year’s awards program. The members of the jury represented firms of every size working on all types of projects from across the country. Individually, we looked at the graphic design and content of over 170 print and online ads. Advertisements qualifying for the award included those published during the first quarter of 2012 in Architectural Record, in the January/February issue of Greensource, or run online during the same time period.

Besides me, the other jury members were:
The final selection committee—comprised of Chilton, Dosso, Kikoski, Lewis, Sorg, and Yoos—convened on March 28 to select the prize winners from those shortlisted by the larger jury. Laura Viscusi, Vice President for McGraw-Hill Construction Media, administered the entire awards program process.

The total number of award recipients—categorized as “Best in Class,” “Winner,” or “Honorable Mention”—was quite large:

Best in Class:

  • Armstrong Ceiling Systems Zban Advertising
  • The Modern Fan Co.
  • Hunter Douglas Contract Post & Beam
  • Rocky Mountain Hardware - Burchiellaro Design
  • Valspar – Periscope
Single Page:
  • Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc. –KleinMickaelianPartners
  • Holcim – Ricochet Partners
  • Technical Glass Products – Brandner Communications, Inc.
  • CertainTeed Gypsum – Think Tank Studio
  • Decoustics – Interrupt Marketing
  • Forms+Surfaces
  • Kawneer Company, Inc. – Function
  • Louis Poulsen Lighting
  • Morin – A Kinspan Group Company
  • Simpson Strong-Tie – Function
  • Soil Retention Products, Inc. – Drop Dead Design
Honorable Mention:
  • Centria – Pipitone Group
  • Construction Specialties, Inc. – Brian J. Ganton & Associates
  • Lutron Electronics
  • Western Red Cedar Lumber Association – Hunter Consulting International, Inc.
  • The Collins Company – DHX Advertising
  • Kornegay Design
  • Pella Corporation – The Integer Group

Online Ad Awards:

Best in Show Online:
  • Alcoa – Elevation Advertising
  • Georgia Pacific Gypsum – OMD Atlanta
  • FSB
Winners Online:
  • Centria – Pipitone Group
  • ClimateMaster
  • Forms+Surfaces
  • Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America, Inc. – The Ludlow Group
  • Rethink Wood
Honorable Mention Online:
  • Schindler – Point to Point Communications

User Engagement – Awards:

  • Autodesk
  • Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America, Inc. – The Ludlow Group
  • PPG Glass – Pipitone Group
Honorable Mention:
  • Centria
  • Ceramic Tiles of Italy
Laura Viscusi pointed out that "there is no single ad type that appeals to every architect.” Regardless, during my review of the ads it was apparent simple and strong imagery was most successful. It appears my fellow jury members concurred.

Architects are not advertising professionals but we are a discerning audience. We favor clean layouts, strategic use of open space, and attractive images. Less is very much often more. One main message or a few key points at most, are most memorable. Architects want to see the promoted product “in action,” proving that it works as claimed. We are drawn to ads that inspire imagination and creativity.

Because the essence of what we do is to create things, architects easily relate to the artistic challenges faced by the creative minds in advertising. Those who are fans of Mad Men are likely to channel their inner Don Draper when regarding the merits of a particular print or online campaign.(1)

I was flattered to be asked by Architectural Record to serve as a juror and honored by the opportunity. I do regret not attending this year’s AIA National Convention and taking part in Friday’s Ad Awards breakfast. Thanks to the on-the-ground tweets and blog posts from Record’s team of contributors, I can tell it was a well-attended and enjoyable event.

(1)   My wife watches Mad Men religiously but I have yet to view an episode.

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