Each year our board of directors and event chairs are asked questions about the American Advertising Awards (AAA). This year we turned those consistent questions into a recyclable piece of content. Here’s what you need to know based on our most commonly fielded AAA questions!
The event is being held Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Grand Ballroom at the Kelly Inn, downtown St. Cloud.
1. When Are Entries Due?
Friday, January 19, 2018. There’s a hard 5pm CST cutoff time, too. Drop all entries at the Leighton Interactive office at 619 W. St. Germain in downtown St. Cloud. Second floor, straight up the stairs, to your immediate left.
(Also, that’s the pickup place for your boards and kits, and they’re $5 a piece.)
2. How Much Is it to Enter?
There isn’t a consistent answer here because we’ve got a few different variables at play. There are two categories: Professionals and Students. And there are discounts for being an AAF member, and it matters if the work you’re submitting is a single piece for consideration, or an entire campaign. Clear as mud? Refer to the big dogs at the American Advertising Federation for the rundown.
3. Who Can Enter the AAA?
Anyone in the creative field, regardless of industry. Individuals and teams in every sector of business are called upon time and time again to create work that connects, communicates, illustrates, and converts. We don’t care if you’re an agency, and individual, a department, or if the work is your senior project or the last thing you’ll accomplish in your lengthy career. Let the work speak for itself.
4. Wait. Why is Called the AAA and Not the ADDY’s?
Because, #rules. A few years ago the Federation kindly reminded its members and AAA committees that the event and awards are called the American Advertising Awards, and to further discontinue calling the prestigious competition by its slang terminology. All of us who’ve been in the fray for any number of years surely slip up a time or two, calling it by its former four-letter name. Ahem, me.
5. Can You Remind Us Again How Judging Works?
Another hard and fast set of rules applies here. Each club that hosts a local AAA competition has to secure judges to review the work and select winning entries. We choose judges from outside our district (District Eight; MN, WI, ND, and SD), they travel to the frozen tundra of Central Minnesota for one blustery weekend in January where we turn them loose on the creative. Everything is highly regulated and 100 percent confidential, both from the perspective of who’s behind the entries and outcome until the big night.
6. What Happens Night of the Event?
The work – every single entry – is on display. Women wear beautiful ball gowns and look dashing on the arms of their well-coiffed suitors. The wine flows, the creative camaraderie warms the room …
Okay, yes. The work is on display. Large masses of attendees come together, have a drink or two, sample the hors d’oeurves, and enjoy a keynote show highlighting the winning work and announcing recipients. There’s a lot of fanfare and backslapping and goodwill towards the creative sector. And some beautiful ball gowns. Let’s be honest.
7. How Much Are Tickets? Do My Entries Get Me In to the Show, Too?
If you entered work, you’re still on the hook for a ticket to the show. But, we have good news for you – early bird tickets are on sale now through January 12 for $42 for pros and $27 for students. Tickets go up $10 and $5 respectively through night of show, so get ‘em now right here.
If you’re interested in buying a whole mess of tickets for your office, family, or classroom, let us know what you’re thinking and we’ll coordinate the efforts.
8. What are the Next Steps After the Local Show?
All Gold winners (both student and pros) are automatically forwarded to the D8 AAA competition where the work is judged again in the overall district pool, by its own set of judges. The show is held in Minneapolis in April, and the Board of Directors/event chairs handle those logistics. If your work nabs a Silver, you have the option to pay for forwarding for district consideration. We’ll share more about that process after February 17th.
9. What Should I Wear?
I thought you’d never ask.
In years past, the AAA show had pretty obvious themes to it. Last year we pledged our Scout’s Honor and donned badges and khaki. The year before that was high couture with fur. Attendees either went all out within the theme or did their own thing. This year our planning committee backed off an over the top theme in order to let the work speak for itself. That being said, as creatives ourselves we always encourage expressionism and hope you rise to the challenge. Business semi-formal is probably a safe zone to focus on otherwise.
About AMERICAN ADVERTISING FEDERATION
The American Advertising Awards is the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition for creative excellence. The three-tier national competition is conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation, advertising’s largest industry association and the only one to represent the interests of all facets of advertising: advertisers, agencies, suppliers and media. The AAF is based in Washington, D.C. and has more than 40,000 members through 200 local advertising clubs.