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Tag: American Advertising Awards

5 Reasons to Enter the American Advertising Awards

Now that you’ve heard about the American Advertising Awards, you might be wondering if it’s worth it to submit your project (spoiler alert, of course it is!) If you still need convincing, check out the top five reasons to enter below:

5. Business is all about relationships

We all know that when working with clients and customers, strong, trusting relationships are key to repeat business and referrals for new business. The American Advertising Awards is the perfect place to showcase your work on behalf of your customers. They say actions speak louder than words, and submitting the pieces you’ve done for clients screams, “HEY! Look who we get to work with, and would you look at what we get to do for them!?”

4. Because self-promotion isn’t selfish

Business is, well, business, and when we get down to it, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of promoting products and services, taking care of clients, and generally hustling that we forget to do all the same promotion and hustle for ourselves! The American Advertising Awards are the perfect place to remind your colleagues in the industry of who you are and what you do.

3. Your entry supports local students

Proceeds from our show are used to support all the feel-good things our club does for local students (i.e. the future of our industry), like our annual Student Design Competition.

2. Helping Us Helps You

Part of our mission as a club is to provide programming and workshops throughout the year that help you grow and flourish as a professional! Your entry helps us help you!

1. The work!

You #grind day in and day out; honestly, the work speaks for itself. You’ve put in the hustle and heart; now it’s time to step aside and make way for the work. It deserves to be recognized!

Submit your work to the 2024 AAAs today!

Red Carpet Fashions Abound: What to Wear to the 2019 American Advertising Awards

With just under two weeks until the 2019 American Advertising Awards, many of you are probably starting your fittings with Dior, Chanel, and McQueen. Or more realistically, you are planning to head to the mall soon to pick out your outfit for the big night. Either way, you may be wondering what one wears to the premiere award show of the year.

This year is all about glitz and glamour. As this is an awards show, we want to bring the Oscars, Grammy’s and Tony’s to Central Minnesota. For one night only, you can live out your red carpet fantasy and dress to impress. Think floor length gowns, nicely tailored suites, opera gloves, and and as much sparkle as you can bare to look at.

Ladies! If you are still searching for the perfect gown, Rent the Runway is a great resource! They have an array of designer gowns straight from the runway for you to rent at a very affordable fraction of the price. Imagine arriving in this Badgley Mischka gown, aptly named the “Award Winner Gown.”

Gentleman! Don’t think we forgot about you. If you are looking for a nice tux or suit, try The Black Tux. They have a wide variety of menswear for every style and body type. The best part? Your suit or tux will be delivered right to your door, ready to wear.

Men Runway

Red carpet entrances begin at 6:30 pm. Just remember, you never know when the paparazzi will snap your next photo!

A student’s perspective on entering the American Advertising Awards

I’m all too familiar with the whirlwind that is the American Advertising Awards. You know the process: choose your best work to submit, putting them in the proper categories, printing out your copies, then checking all your entries and information until you practically have it memorized before finally delivering your entries. Oh, and this all has to be done within a few days. But allow me to let you in on a little secret: it’s all worth it.

How did I hear about AAF Central Minnesota?

I was a student at Alexandria Technical and Community College when I was first introduced to AAF Central Minnesota. My instructors at the time, Paul Johnson and Craig Bjerke, told us all about what AAF stood for and the kinds of opportunities they offered to designers both amateur and professional.

How did my school participate in AAF?

At the end of each fall semester, we choose our best work (with no limit placed on the amount) and present them to our instructors to possibly be chosen for submission through the school. We were also encouraged to submit work on our own if we felt it was an example of some of our best work but hadn’t been chosen by our instructors. Once the American Advertising Awards Event rolled around, those who received awards for their work, our instructors, and any supporting friends or family were welcomed to the local region’s awards ceremony. If any of us were lucky to receive something at the district or national level, we would attend those ceremonies as well.

At other times of the year, our instructors also encouraged us to take part in various AAF events like speaker series, the CMYK Poster show, or 24-hour design challenges.

How did I personally decide what work I wanted to enter?

If I told you it was easy, I’d be lying. I treasure each piece I create, and I know I can’t submit every piece I want to. In the end, the pieces I choose are the ones that I find the most eye-catching or beautiful, the ones that most closely follow design principles, and/or the ones on which I used a unique design technique. What stands out from the rest?

I’ve included a few pieces of the work I’ve submitted in the past that took home awards.

Lancôme Magazine Scrap Illustration – Original and Magazine Ad
Gold Award and a Best of Show Award

Efik Girl with a Coral Earring Watercolor Illustration
Gold Award and Judge’s Choice Award

Avani Tea Package Design
Gold Award

Dominican Domestic
Gold Award
Silver Award at the District Level

What have I learned about the show and entering process?

First of all, don’t procrastinate or underestimate what submitting a piece entails. My first year, I thought it was going to be a breeze and quickly learned that each entry required a lot of time, patience, and attention to detail to make sure you’re not only making the piece look good but also that you have all your paperwork correct and in the correct places. I’ve always gotten all my entries done as soon as possible – in school, I had seen too many other students rushing to meet our school’s deadline to get them in on time, and I didn’t want to find myself in the same situation and risk messing up a small detail that could jeopardize my chances of being awarded an award.

Anything notable about the show itself?

It’s an excellent opportunity to see other people’s work, both professional and student, as well as to network with others in the local design community. I’ve met some extraordinary people just because I participated in AAF. Don’t pass up this kind of opportunity! Plus, the hors d’oeuvres are always amazing. #munch

Any final thoughts?

If you still aren’t sure if you want to take part, let me tell you how AAF has helped me along my career path. I’ve included the awards I’ve received on my résumé, and it’s helped me land interviews, portfolio reviews with experienced design professionals, and two internships with the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida (where I’m writing this today).

So is participating in AAF worth it, you ask? Yes. Without a doubt!

Haley Anderson

American Advertising Awards 2018 – The Judging Process & Meet The Judges

We know that submitting work to the American Advertising Awards can be a daunting task. And it probably feels like one of the most satisfying checks you make on your list at the end of the week when entries are do. Have you ever wondering where they go from there? Who judges them? What’s that processes look like? Where does it all happen? When does it all happen? Wonder no more! We’ll show you the journey your entry goes on from the moment you drop it off to the moment winners are selected.

The very day entries are due, they are gathered from the various drop off locations and loaded to make there way to what we call “logging and screening”. Logging and screening starts bright and early at 8am that Saturday morning. This is where our fierce team of volunteers unload and double check all directions were followed preparing the entries…you know, all those daunting tasks and instructions we give you!

Shout out to Auto Part Headquarters for donating their space to us for this process!

Once we know every entry has everything it needs, we sort them by category. Then, because we want to make the judging process as smooth as possible, we double and triple check they are all in order and every entry is properly entered into the software system. This is pretty well oiled machine; from the preprinted category signs on bright orange paper, to the navigation of software ensuring all entries are logged for judging, to verifying all pieces are in place.

And of course we take a few breaks along the way for coffee and bagels and to ooo and awe over the amazing work submitted.

We welcome our guest judges from warmer states to our often chilly and snow Minnesota weather.

Once again, we unload all the entries! This time they are all in order…that is if we were all on our A game during logging and screening. Each entry is laid out on a table. Categories are clearly marked and they follow the order of the judging forms each judge has in their binder. The judges make there way through the entries, one by one examining them and considering all creative dimensions of every entry.


From there, the scores are entered into the American Advertising Awards software. This is the same software use from local level all the way through nationals. The scores are calculated and the verdict is printed.

A GOLD ADDY is recognition of the highest level of creative excellence and is judged to be superior to all other entries in the category. Entries that are also considered outstanding and worthy of recognition receive a SILVER ADDY. The winners are of course all kept top secret until the unveiling at the awards show!

We do this first for the student awards then for the professional awards. As you can see it involves a keen eye for detail, an organized leader, a sprinkle of hurry up and wait, and lots of loading, unloading, sorting, resorting, and double and triple checking. It’s a big undertaking and takes a dedicated team to get it all done, but it’s so worth it!

Please note, judges are always from out of state so their opinion is completely unbiased.

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper

Teresa Treadway

Teresa Treadway

A.J. Buse

A.J. Buse

5 Reasons to Enter the American Advertising Awards

So you’ve heard about the American Advertising Awards but you’re still figuring out if it’s worth it to submit (spoiler alert, of course it is!) If you still need convincing, check out the top five reasons to enter below:

5. Business is all about relationships

We all know that when working with clients and customers, strong, trusting relationships are key to repeat business and referrals for new business. The American Advertising Awards is the perfect place to showcase the work you are doing on behalf of your customers. They say actions speak louder than words and submitting the pieces you’ve done for clients screams “HEY! Look who we get to work with and would you look at what we get to do for them!?”

4. Because Self Promotion isn’t Selfish

Business is, well, business and when we get down to it, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of promoting products and services, taking care of clients, and generally hustling that we forget to do all the same promotion and hustle for ourselves! The American Advertising Awards are the perfect place to remind your colleagues in the industry of who you are and what you do.

3. It’s for the babies!

Okay, well maybe not actual babies, but seriously, proceeds from our show are used to support all the feel good things our club does for local students (i.e. the future of our industry) like our annual Student Design Competition.

 2. Helping Us Helps You

Okay so we help babies, but we also help you! Part of our mission as a club is to provide programming and workshops throughout the year that help you grow and flourish as a professional!

1. The work!

You #grind day in and day out and honestly, the work speaks for itself. You’ve put in the hustle and heart, now it’s time to step aside and make way for the work. It deserves to be recognized!

Submit your work today!

What are the Central MN American Advertising Awards?

Well, well, well.. didn’t that sneak up on us fast? It feels like just yesterday we were running around trying to decide which work was worthy to be submitted. Breaking out the rulers and double sided tape to mount our work and trying to remember if it is three or two copies that go into that envelope.

Maybe some of this sounds familiar to you or maybe your new to this entire competition. Either way we want to break it down and explain what the American Advertising Awards are and why they are so important in the Central Minnesota community.

The American Advertising Awards, formerly the ADDYs, is the advertising industry’s largest and most represented competition, attracting over 40,000 entries every year from local clubs, like us, around the country.

This is an annually competition held by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the local Ad Club phase is the first of a three-tier, national competition. Local entrants are judged by a scoring process from a panel of judges. Gold and silver ADDY awards are given for those of the highest level of creative excellence. They are recognized as the very best in the market.

At the second tier, local ADDY winners compete against winners from other local clubs in one of 15 district competitions. District ADDY winners are then forwarded to the third tier, the national stage of the American Advertising Awards. Entering in our competition is the first step toward winning a national ADDY.

How does entering benefit you and the Central Minnesota community?

We, from agencies, in-house, freelance and colleges, are able to come together to celebrate creative excellence. We showcase our BEST work. We spend our days coming up with effective creative solutions and strategies for our clients. This is the time to admire, reward and high-five this kick-ass industry that we work in. This is a competition recognizes just that!

AAF Central MN is also able to use proceeds to continue to enhance the industry by coordinating and offering education opportunities, public service, advocacy groups, portfolio reviews, mentorships and more!

Why should you enter as a student?

AAF has designed a unique program specially for college students. Just like the professional competition, your work can move up to the regional and national level. Students are able to submit work from school projects or work created specifically for the American Advertising Awards.

This looks great on your resumé, you’re able to rub elbows with the elite, and show off what you’ve got!

So, now what?

We’re calling for all entries! If you are an AAF Central MN member you receive a special discount on your submissions. Interested in membership, check this out!

You can find an updated list of categories, rules, and reception details here.

Entries are due Friday, January 19th.

Can’t wait to see what you’ve all been up to this year!

#ADSCOUTS: What to Wear

I know the American Advertising Awards are about the work. The creative. The effectiveness. The cohesion. As athletes of marketing, our game day looks a little different than traditional competition. The ADDY’s is then considered our race or marathon, our event, match, game, or championship. We can say we’re not in it to win it, but we’d be liars. We’re still competitors. We still want to be the best, the cream, the victor.

And we want to look hella smashing when we do.


What An Ad Scout Looks Like

When I was a third grader I begged my parents to let me join Girl Scouts. I don’t remember the details surrounding why I felt the need to join a troop – if my friends were Brownies or I had heard there were snacks. Whatever the reason I joined, It was good while it lasted. You see, it was not in my future to advance through the ranks of the Girl Scouts association. I was a Brownie for a single year – I know there is fodder about my getting kicked out of the troop for talking so much, but my mom disagrees. Thanks for always having my back, Mom … and my widely-forever-and-ever-expressed verbal thoughts. So I joined Girl Scouts for one year in 1989. I got a sash. I got several pins and a big handful of patches. Proof I did more than talk. And now, nearly 30 years later, I get to revive that sash and all its colorful glory (after my Mom took said patches and pins out of their carefully preserved Ziploc and finally sewed them onto the sash) when I wear it to this year’s Olympics of Advertising on Saturday. If you were never a Brownie, Eagle, Cadet, Tenderfoot, Daisy, Star, Junior, Senior, or Ambassador, here’s what to wear to the 2017 American Advertising Awards.




On My Honor I Will Try: Girl Ad Scouts Attire Do’s

When it comes to scouting, there’s a firm grasp on function over fashion for good reason. How will a Scout serve God and country, and help people at all times if they’re wearing too tight dungarees or boots that pinch? At ease, Ad Scouts. This is your year to dress casually. If you wish to pay homage to the first Girl Scouts who made their debut in 1912, consider a dark-colored middy skirt or blouse (a style that is totally having a 2017 moment) with a tied belt, a smart and sturdy hat, and black stockings or tights. A lace-up ankle boot will top off your look and prove to your troop you’re ready for anything.

By the 1930’s, the iconic Girl Scout Green was officially adopted as the mascot color of the organization, and the jaunty little beret donned the heads of most Girl Scouts. Wartime ’40s saw the distinction of Brownie Brown as a way to separate the Brownies from the Junior and Senior Scouts – and it likely had to do with the availability of wartime materials – green khaki after all was the color of the legitimate troops fighting for the U.S.A. At this point, Scouts were still dressed in feminine button-front dresses and added brightly colored neckerchiefs to soften the look. The 1960’s brought further dress distinction of four established levels of Scouts and it took until the ’70s to add separates to a Girl Scout’s wardrobe, meaning she could finally have options – five separate pieces made 12 different outfits. Can I get an amen?

The 1980’s. The decade of the bigger, the better. Hall of Fame fashion stylist Bill Blass got his hands on the Girl Scouts’ attire and ladies, things got real. We’re talking even brighter kelly green, blazers (oh, ’80s blazers!), pants, skirts, and the introduction of the green, white, and blue striped blouses. And absolutely zero shame. Look to AAA Co-Chair Sarah Forystek to mad rep the 1980’s Girl Scout Look. The 1990’s meant more freedom and options with the ever-prominent sash leading the way, and the 2000’s adopted The Vest. Leave it to the Millennials to need even moreroom for their Scouting accomplishments; a tiny sash meant too much restriction and parameters. For the past decade, Scouts are only required to wear one element — a tunic, sash, or vest — to display their pins and awards.

Always Be Prepared: Boy Ad Scouts Attire Do’s

Admittedly, Boy Scout fashion is … less fun to write about. But guys, I got you.

Find a button-up shirt, roll those cuffs, add a great bandana or handkerchief, pair with dark denim, and add a pair of brown leather boots. Go the extra mile and add a khaki jacket and simple-style hat for Boy Scout bonus points.

You’re welcome! Actually, I’ll tell the historical story of the Boy Scouts too, because if you think Bill Blass was a big deal, wait until you hear who dressed this organization. The Boy Scouts Association inception dates back to 1910, and just like its female counterpart, its founding was modeled after similar service groups from England. The first Scout uniforms included brown jackets with metal buttons, high colors, and lots of pockets – for all the stuff. Breeches-type pants and canvas leggings topped off the look. Early uniforms featured a broad-brimmed hat with the badge of rank prominently displayed at the crown. It took a few years, but the jackets were replaced and the high collars done away with, too. Shorts were made an option and neckerchiefs and knee socks were theaccessories to have. The wartime 1940’s saw the Boy Scout uniform modeling its design after military wear – likely in solidarity and as a way to mainstream manufacturing with limited resources. Red berets and baseball caps were options available in the 1970’s – though it seemed males (obviously) favored baseball hats and the beret trend quickly disappeared. In early 1980, the BSA realized a uniform refresher was in order and enlisted the help of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta … YES, that Oscar de la Renta. “We felt the uniform should meet several criteria,” de la Renta told Scouting Magazine in the 1980 September issue. “It should be equitable for strenuous activity; it should be made from an easy care fabric, and at the same time the wearer should still look like a Scout.”

There isn’t anything else to say on THAT topic.

See you at the Show!


What it Takes to Put on the ADDYs

Well, here we are, knee-deep in ADDY season! It’s the week of the show and we couldn’t be more excited for the big event! For our club and its members, this is truly a culmination of months of effort. Let’s take a quick little hike up memory mountain to recall what it takes to get us here every year.

Planning the American Advertising Awards

Planning the American Advertising Awards begins at the very beginning of our club’s fiscal year at the end of June. It starts with a group of board members who go above and beyond their assigned board of directors duties to help plan the awards.

Next comes the show creative and theme. This year we worked to find a volunteer Agency of Record. I’d like to take this opportunity to give a big-time Ad Scout Salute to Agency 128 who answered our call and nailed their mission.

As summer turned into fall our committee was in the thick of ADDY planning. Our Agency of Record worked in concert with our print sponsor, Continental Press, to get our materials printed. Meanwhile Meta 13 Interactive was working hard building the website and prepping for the official call for entries.

Organized Chaos

If you haven’t caught on just yet, planning for this award show takes the coordination of many, many moving parts. Everything from the décor, provided this year by Signmax, GREAT TheatreB&J Evergreen, to stamps and envelopes for the invites. Our committee was fortunate enough this year to sign on two sponsors who are helping foot the bill for some of the show’s expenses, another ad scout salute goes out to Carlson Advisors & the Saint Cloud State MBA Program.

Finally we close in on the last six weeks leading up to showtime. There’s a lot going on between marketing campaigns, determining the Silver Medal Award winner, taking in submissions, producing the keynote, designing the awards (thanks Virnig) and organizing final show details.

On the submission due date, just three weeks prior to the show, it’s all hands on deck and our Addy committee goes into overdrive. All entries get loaded up and our club pretty much takes over Auto Parts Headquarters for about two and a half weeks for logging & screening and judging weekends. Wow, we owe those guys!

The Day of the Show

Wooft, I’m getting a little windy over here so let’s wrap it up. Finally show day arrives and everything comes together (seriously, it’s amazing to be a part of)! All the small details tighten up like the most intricate of knots, the work is displayed and believe it or not, it’s finally showtime.

Okay, so Scout’s Honor, this whole thing isn’t as neat as a 500 word blog post. It’s overwhelming and stressful at times, but the point is it’s all worth it on show day. To see the work of so many local agencies and students done right here in Central Minnesota for Central Minnesota businesses is more than enough to make this Ad Scout realize that darnit, we’ve all got a lot to celebrate!

So dig out your sashes, sew on your patches, and get ready to take it all in this weekend. There will be delicious food at a beautiful venue and special fun provided by Bernick’s and Guytano Magno Photography. At ease, scouts. Let’s party!

2015 American Advertising Awards Recap


AAFCM would like to thank the students, college instructors, agencies, organizations and individuals who entered their work or volunteered their time and resources to make this year’s competition such a success. With other 300 entries submitted this year, across a variety of mediums, it’s apparent that Central Minnesota’s advertising community is alive and well… perhaps even legendary. AAFCM is happy to encourage and support your creative efforts and provide you with a platform to showcase your imagination and talent and in turn, get the recognition you deserve.


If you haven’t yet, take a look at our Facebook page! A gallery of the agents who agreed to have their witness protection portrait taken by Guytano Magno Photography at Saturday’s event will be posted soon. You will be able to download images directly from Facebook. Also, check our page throughout the week, as we’ll be posting the Best of Show award videos as well as the Judge’s Choice award videos.

Also, a full list of winners and PDF of the winners book is available here.


So you won an award, now what?

Congrats! If your entry won a Gold ADDY, it’ll be automatically forwarded to the District 8 competition with fees paid by AAFCM. You don’t have to do anything!

If your entry was awarded a Silver, you have won the right to compete at the next level. In order to officially forward your Silver-winning entry, please fill out this online form and submit the appropriate forwarding fee ($75 per professional entry; $20 per student entry). Requests and payments to forward Silvers to the 8th District Competition must be received by Friday, January 30.

The District 8 judging will take place in mid-March and an awards event will be held in Minneapolis in early April (date/location TBD). For more details, visit


Extra professional and student awards are available for $50 each. If you’d like an extra, please fill out the order form and submit payment via our online form by Friday, January 30. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery of those awards.


If you have feedback on AAFCM’s American Advertising Awards, we’d love to hear it. Food, venue, show, entry system, promotions, theme, etc – don’t be shy. Help us make next year’s event an even bigger success. Email us today!