ADDY Awards critiques advertisers, students
For months, students in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations have been preparing advertising campaigns and work to be submitted to the annual ADDY Awards. After months of preparing, their work was placed into the hands of three judges who dedicated an 11-hour day critiquing work inside of the Lansing Public Media Center on Feb. 16.
The ADDY Awards are the advertising and marketing industry's largest and most recognized competition held by the Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance, according to the American Advertising Awards website.
The judges included three big names in advertising: Andy Azula, Melanie Wiesenthal and Silverio Cuellar.
Azula traveled from Richmond, Va. to East Lansing. His agency, The Martin Agency, works with clients that include GEICO, Kozy Shack, Oreo, Discover Card and more. He said while judging, he looked for ads that conveyed an idea.
“We need to drive a response,” Azula said. “If our work is flat or forgettable it is a bit of a failure. We aren’t doing our job right then we don’t deserve the money that we are being paid. ... What I look for every day is what can I do today that is going to change someone’s mind?”
Azula said his advice to students who win or lose is to be optimistic and learn from the critiques.
“What I would like to say to people entering into the field is that relentless optimism is a key,” Azula said. “Especially in our business that is so pessimistic, people kick each other so much and people are constantly hating on each other.”
Creative advertising junior Mary Jane O’Connor is a student participant in the ADDYs. She said she submitted work focused on copywriting campaigns she worked on in classes.
“I almost learn more at stuff like this, not so much a critique of my work but just seeing other people’s work and being inspired by that,” O’Connor said. “I think it’s really cool to see what everyone else is doing and kind of learn from them.”
O’Connor said assistant professor Henry Brimmer and academic specialist Lou Schiavone inspired her to submit to the ADDY Awards.
“He (Schiavone) is kind of a writing legend so I look up to him and work with him a lot,” O’Connor said. “Henry as well just, as a mentor and honestly a friend, he is awesome. I look up to both of them a lot and really care about what they think.”
O’Connor said her goal is to someday get a copywriting job at an advertising agency. Until then she said she hopes to learn from events like the ADDYs.
“It is really cool to see the different perspectives that (the judges) have,” O’Connor said. “They are all so, so successful and they all have similar but very different careers. I guess the one takeaway was that there is not really a right way to do things because all of these people have all this success and they got it in so many different ways.”
O’Connor said she hopes to win at the ADDYs but is happy regardless of the outcome.
“I think everyone should be pushed to polish their work to that level and to make something as good as you can make it, which can be kind of scary to make something to the best of your ability because if it fails its sucks way worse,” O’Connor said.
Brimmer has been involved with the ADDYs since he started teaching at MSU 10 years ago. He said he hopes for some winners.
“I want them to feel the pride in their work for having put in the time and dedication and I think it is really important that an outside voice tells them something,” Brimmer said. “Grades and professors, all of that is internal. This is external, you have these judges that come from the outside that don't know them, that don't know anything and so we hope to have a lot of winners amongst our students.”
Winners will be announced on March 2.
“My job is very easy with the students that somehow have curiosity and that are hungry and that are really passionate about what they are doing,” Brimmer said. “Indirectly, I get great pleasure when my students are successful.”