Three Local Agencies Score States Only National ADDYs

July 9, 2007
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Three West Michigan advertising firms pocketed national-level ADDY Awards last month at the American Advertising Federation annual conference in Louisville.

Fairly Painless Advertising, of Holland, and Highland Group, of Grand Rapids, snagged Gold ADDY awards, and FLUID, of Muskegon, received a Silver ADDY.

Also, two Michigan college students were awarded: Joseph Schlaud of East Lansing and Paige Gregory of Allendale.

Peter Bell, creative director and principal at Fairly Painless, said he traveled to China and shot 2,500 digital pictures there to capture the relationship between the manufacturer of bamboo flooring and the West Michigan distributor, Turion. He produced a brochure in the form of a “bamboo traders’ map” for Turion, which he said subsequently succumbed to financing woes and the plunge in the residential housing market. The brochure was aimed at architects and designers as well as consumers.

“Part of the concept of the piece was the connection of this West Michigan company to the Chinese manufacturer,” Bell said. “We called it ‘the bamboo trail’ and it pretty much talks about the manufacturing standards, but also provided a connection point between the owner of the company and the Chinese manufacturers.

“We were up against Chicago and Detroit and Indianapolis,” added Bell, whose firm also brought home ADDYs in1993, 2000 and 2001. “Winning an award at that level is pretty fantastic.”

Also bringing home the gold was Highland Group, run by husband-and-wife partners Scott and Jennifer Crowley. The firm’s first-ever national ADDY was for packaging for SketchPad, an Ada-based Web site for house plans. Highland also designed the Web site.

“It was a creative and challenging packaging system,” Jennifer Crowley said. “Technically, it was a challenge to produce it, as well.”

To differentiate SketchPad in a crowded home-blueprint market on the Web, Highland came up with a unique approach to the kit that arrives in the buyer’s mailbox, she said. Working with Geoff Shirley, partner and creative director, and Production Manager Jeanne Weaver, Jennifer Crowley’s team came up with the idea of delivering two boxes. The package includes home plans on vellum or a branded CD with a custom case; an 11-by-17-inch set of blueprints bound in a fabric carrying case for the homeowner; and a CD with “house music” selected for each buyer.

“The idea is to extend the reach of the SketchPad brand all the way through the building process and even after,” Crowley said.

FLUID took a Silver ADDY for advertising the ADDY awards to local advertising companies, designing a campaign for the Ad Club of West Michigan called “Freaks & Geeks” that depicted people in the business as the cast of a circus sideshow.

“We started thinking about the stereotypes that are out there for creative people. We turned that into the circus sideshow, making that application in a creative, emotional way,” Principal Kyle Kempster said.

“Every creative shop in West Michigan sees this work,” he added. “And every person at every shop has an opinion on the ADDY campaign. We wanted to make sure the creative campaign for the event compared favorably to the work in the competition.”

The three West Michigan firms were the only 2007 national ADDY winners from Michigan.

The AAF judged 1,537 professional entries and named 307 winners. There were 140 student entries and 30 awards presented. The competition began with 57,000 entries at the local level and moved through regional judging before landing before the national judges. The AAF’s network includes 200 Ad Clubs, 215 college chapters and 130 corporate members.    

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