The advertising business in Austin has been on a roll lately, and the annual ADDY Awards reflected that. A larger-than-usual crowd gathered at the Moody Theater, the home of ACL Live to celebrate a year of strong and diverse creative work.
While two agencies, McGarrah Jessee and GSD&M took home the lion's share of awards, the show represented an impressive breadth and depth of work from the growing Austin ad community.
And in a switch from years past, the show was actually a show. The austin Advertising Federation, which hosts the competition, decided to raise the bar in terms of entertainment by bringing in Nick Offerman, star of NBC's "Parks & Recreation" to serve as emcee.
Judging from the crowd reaction, it was an inspired choice. Offerman didn't pull any punches when it came to mocking the ad industry. That approach came as no surprise to the audience, given the night's theme "An Evening Spent Up Your Own Ass."
Offerman might have been a little blue for some audience members, but they were in the minority. Ad people, after all, have never been uncomfortable making fun of themselves.
And either Offerman knows a thing or two about advertising, or someone prepared him well because his jokes and comments might have been off-color, but they were typically right on target.
Offerman's wife, Emmy-winning actress Megan Mullally was also on hand, performing with her band Nancy & Beth. They were fun to watch, but you couldn't help feeling like they were added on as a package deal.
Giving Offerman and the band a run for their money in terms of entertainment was the work, which was on display in the Mezzanine before the show for the crowd to critique as they rubbed elbows and sipped $11 cocktails.
The action then moved to the theater where Offerman presented the major awards and offered his own critiques, often displaying some decent insight on the craft and giving the occasional and surprising shout-out to some past local work, like his praise of Beef & Pie's 2003 documentary "Growin a Beard."
But that was then; this is now. And now this year's awards:
The coveted Best in Show was awarded to McGarrah Jessee for a video produced for the Spoetzl Brewery to launch the Shiner beer brand in the New York market. (See it below). That video also won for Best in Broadcast. McGarrah Jessee also brought home the Best Integrated Campaign award for their campaign to launch Shiner White Wing. The judges gave a special Judges Award to McJ for their overall design work on the Shiner brand, which recognized package and web design, print, outdoor, broadcast and interactive advertising and vehicle design.
GSD&M, which had a strong showing as well, was awarded Best in Print for Barbasol Shave Cream's "Field Guide to Manhood," which would surely have pleased Offerman's "Parks and Recreation" character, Ron Swanson. They also won Best Microsite for the U.S. Air Force.
Best of Digital went to Razorfish for #UseMeLeaveMe, a cleverly named and executed campaign for an innovative bike-share program (also created by Razorfish) created for SXSW.
University of Texas Ad School student Annie Lin won the Best of Show, Student award for a campaign for Change.org.
In addition to the honors listed above, McGarrah Jessee took an additional 10 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze ADDYs. GSD&M was close behind with 9 Gold, 4 Silver and 4 Bronze for clients including John Deere, Jarritos and Zales.
Razorfish took 2 Gold and 2 Silver for #UseMeLeaveMe. SandersWingo won 2 Gold and 1 Silver for something called The Beard League. Proof brought home eight total awards, 1 Silver and 7 Bronze for a variety of clients including the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Moontower Comedy Festival and Schweigart Meats. Relative newcomer Helms Workshop was awarded 2 Gold and 1 Silver for Austin Beerworks and Modern Times.
Rounding out the medals were T3 (1 Gold, 1 Bronze), LatinWorks (2 Silver, 1 Bronze), Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing (1 Silver, 1 Bronze), The Bakery (1 Silver) and Creative Suitcase (1 Silver). Winning Bronze medals were Backstage, The Butler Bros., HCB Health and Mutual Mobile.
See the complete list of award winners here:
McGarrah Jessee's video which won Best in Broadcast and the big award, Best in Show: