Takeaways from the 2013 DC ADDYS



On Wednesday, I took the Metro into DC to attend the 2013 American Advertising Awards – Washington DC… formerly the DC ADDY Awards. The event recognizes advertising creative excellence in the metro area. This was my fifth time attending in the past 10 years, and third as an in-kind sponsor of the event.


Once again, our good friends at Potomac Management Resources did a wonderful job hosting the event on behalf of the DC Ad Club. But this year, I noticed a bit of a change in the atmosphere.

More videos

As co-owner of a video production company, how can I not notice this? There were a lot more video winners at the event than I remember in years past. Just a few minutes into the event, Interface Media Group’s S.T.E.M. Mentoring won an Addy for their Time To Inspire video for Booz Allen Hamilton – a clever, well-shot and tightly edited piece that set the tone for the quality of video that played throughout the evening.

Higher quality videos

And quality was definitely the theme. Not only were there a ton of videos, there were a ton of GOOD videos. This includes the 30-second spot by GMMB with their Emergency Preparedness PSA – the first DC Ad Club winner for the Best Of Public Service Award.

Bold Storytelling

As the theme of the evening implied – Legends of Embellishment – a strong emphasis on storytelling shined through. And not just in video. One of the most powerful storytelling efforts I noticed actually took place in the Give An Hourprint campaign, entered by Capital One. The campaign brilliantly captures the mental pain and suffering U.S. military personnel and their families experience – in just a few brief sentences. This bold and powerful campaign demonstrates that DC my not be as unwilling to take risks as people might think.

An Unexpected collaboration

One of the more interesting developments for me a on personal level, was noticing the work of a director I deeply admire… from LA. I never expected to see a work from Eliot Rausch in the DC ADDY Awards. I’m a huge fan of his, and was excited to see his collaboration with RTC on the MS Inspiration series of videos was recognized with an ADDY.

New Budget constraints

Talking with a number of Creative Directors throughout the evening, many expressed the concern over shrinking budgets for videos (or more commonly – broadcast spots). Gone are the days of $100,000 budgets, paving way for $30,000 budgets… if they’re lucky. Certainly not desirable, but as Creative Director at 522, I see that as an opportunity. Actually, even a fun challenge. Thanks to the digital revolution, this doesn’t mean that you can’t produce high quality work with limited budgets. Following the theme of the evening: a good story, well-told, can have the power to influence millions. You just need to know what to do with it.

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