We hosted a great virtual speaker, Kerry Feuerman, who spoke on Selling Creativity. We wish we could have had Kerry talk longer and we would love to have him in person someday!
For December, we are tentatively planning to have an in-person holiday social. We are also gearing up for 2021 with a virtual speaker in January, Lindsay Boeddeker from the Goodway Group speaking on Digital Strategy. We have opened up our system for entries into the American Advertising Awards and our show is set for Thursday, February 18th!
With the pandemic ever-looming, we have changed several of our usual methods of carrying out our American Advertising Awards.
Planning for this year’s award ceremony brings new and unique challenges. AAF Birmingham has a history of executing strong award programs, proof positive, our chapter’s Addy Chair won the 2020 Chic Davis Memorial Award. This year, however, we are operating in a new reality. With the upcoming award season falling in the middle of a global pandemic, our planning committee is working hard to learn and communicate the new submission, judging, and event rules and regulations. AAF Birmingham’s plan is to forge ahead and host our first virtual America Advertising Awards celebration. Times are uncertain, but there is one thing we are certain of: great work is being done in Birmingham and we are excited to honor that work at the 2021 American Advertising Awards in February.
Here are Tuscaloosa’s American Advertising Awards Planning Tips:
Specific to this year, we are hoping to take advantage of the fact that there are no physical entries—easier to enter.
We make a prospect list of those we’d like to enter and reach out personally to that person/agency.
When securing judges, we ask them to pre-record how they judge entries and what they are looking for in each category to use during our awards event. They also present special awards via video.
We are tossing the idea around of increasing the entry fee by $5 and advertising that includes admission to the awards event (likely virtual) so that ultimately saves them $ over prior years.
We are excited about the new opportunities coming up with this year’s American Advertising Awards. With the shift to virtual judging and all digital entries, we are hopeful for a good turnout during the event. We are furthering our efforts to drive event participation by offering a promotion on entries this year that will benefit small member agencies (5 employees or less), freelancers/independents, and large member agencies. Small agencies and freelancers/independents will receive a buy 3 get 1 free entry promotion, with large agencies receiving a buy 5 get 1 free entry promotion (max 5 free entries). We also wanted to drive the competition with a more diverse award ensemble. Along with including additional Locals-Only categories for COVID and social justice the night of the event, we are also going to be judging the Mosaic Awards that evening.
We have been working with a local agency, Harvest, on the creative for this year’s event. We are planning an outdoor “drive-in/up” event at a local park in Memphis to be held on February 20, 2021. Attendees will have the option to engage with each other in small, socially distanced groups outside of their vehicles or stay in their vehicles to view the show. We are still working out all of the details but feel this will be a fun and safe way to celebrate! Our plan is to announce the call for entries in late November through social and digital channels.
With the enthusiasm we’ve received from our Diversity & Inclusion efforts this year and to continue our work, we wanted to reflect D&I throughout our planning for the American Advertising Awards. We’ve thoughtfully vetted our judges to reflect these criteria. And to continue the planning not only internally but externally with our members, Kevin Fullerton, a Principal and Creative Director at Springboard Creative, spoke at our November 17 luncheon. The topic was directed to assist our members with their planning for entries, “What it Takes to Win an Addy”. During this luncheon, Harvest also revealed the creative to begin enticing our members to participate since we will not be sending invites in-person this year.
AAF Nashville is currently working on a public service project with The Special Olympics of Tennessee for their annual Polar Plunge event. The project is progressing well and we’re looking forward to helping them out during this insane year (especially for live events).
We are also in the planning stages for our American Advertising Awards as a virtual event. We would normally be booking venues at this time, however, we just can’t make the financial commitment without knowing what the landscape will look like in February. Our hope is that we can send out materials and perhaps event swag to encourage agencies and other groups to have small, socially distant viewing parties while the board presents the awards show in a live streaming environment.
Lemonade out of Lemons
Faced with uncertainty regarding the pandemic, our committee borrowed an idea from a fellow AAF club and planned to host the 2021 awards at a drive-in movie. Huntsville is home to a new entertainment development that hosts drive-in movies. But the cost was prohibitive. Luckily, a local theatre has also added a drive-in movie in their parking lot, and the cost to rent is much more affordable. Our plan is to show the winners’ reel at the top of the evening followed by a movie. Guests will receive a fun charcuterie box in lieu of a meal from the club, and they can also order popcorn, drinks, and full meals from the theatre. To limit physical contact, we will group trophies together and give them to winners later in the night and encourage people to share selfies with their trophies on social media.