Wow Power!

By Hannah Wallace May 31, 2006

You have three seconds to grab me. Quick: What are you selling? Why do I care? And who the heck are you? Time's up. That's advertising.

It's not easy to do, but the Suncoast Advertising Agency celebrates and rewards those who do it right with the annual ADDY Awards. The winners, announced earlier this year, display the creative, touching and bold means it takes to get a message across quickly and effectively. And this year, the 45th annual, was record breaking, with almost 400 entries across 90 categories, from 50 local advertising agencies, graphic design firms, Web developers, printers and publishers. With that increase in participation came an increase in quality-and competition.

Winners must have excellent visual design, a good point and a clear direction, says Bree Adamson, one of this year's judges and a copywriter with PUSH brand-development and advertising firm in Orlando. But above all, it takes that ever-elusive "something different."

"The public isn't stupid," Adamson says. "They know what advertising is and they know what it's trying to do." Reaching consumers by simply telling them what to buy no longer works; instead, ads must grab their attention with a catchy slogan or an arresting image that communicates what it's about and why they should buy it, she says.

R.H. Cat Ridge, communications manager for Monin Gourmet Flavorings in Clearwater and another one of this year's judges, says, "A common misconception about marketing is that you need to please the client. That's not true. The aim is to get a response from the target audience that the client is trying to reach. If you don't do that, you've failed completely."

Ridge adds that the quality of work produced in Sarasota and Manatee counties these days "is really impressive for that size market." Adamson describes the entries as having a strong artistic bent: "great flourishes and swirls, a lot of bright colors, greens and pinks. And they weren't afraid to layer things, to put paint on top of photographs, to mix techniques and blend them together and tear it up."

Local winners will go on to compete at the district level, which includes Florida and the Caribbean. Here are six winning designs that grabbed us.

TITLE: Boar's Head glass condiment jars.

ENTRANT: Boar's Head.

AWARD: Gold ADDY for packaging.

In-house designers from deli giant Boar's Head, which is based in Sarasota, came up with a tasty and tasteful new look for its line of gourmet condiments. The uniform labels and jar shapes, complete with an embossed corporate logo on the top lip, make for a strong brand presence that stands out on the shelf.

TITLE: Selby Botanical Gardens "Passage to India" Orchid Ball invitations.

ENTRANT: Serbin Printing.

AWARD: Gold ADDY, Judges' Choice award for arts and public service.

This elegant invitation by Serbin Printing features a gold sticker-sealed gatefold envelope with an exotic Eastern design, but the photo of the orchid layered on top makes the point clear. Like the Orchid Ball itself, it's classy and elaborate with a unified theme.

TITLE: Sarasota Bradenton International Airport brand redesign.

ENTRANT: Be Creative.

AWARDS: Amy Award for logo; Silver ADDYs for elements of advertising (logo), consumer magazine (full-page), out-of-home (billboard), sales promotion (display stand) and special event material (holiday card).

Talk about a brand redesign. Be Creative has completely overhauled the airport's image with its "SRQ makes sense" campaign. The simple message, bright colors, and bold iconography of the logo and billboards are eye catching, while the concise copy on the holiday card plays off the clean image for the equivalent of a visual pun. A big step forward for an institution seeking to reinforce its international image.

TITLE: Oscar Scherer Scrub Jay 5K poster.

ENTRANT: Marketing By Design.

AWARDS: Gold ADDY for collateral material; Amy Award for arts and public service.

A poster should be visually arresting and direct enough to read and understand from several feet away; this design, by Bennie Barton of Marketing By Design, does just that. The huge letters tell you all you need to know and are legible from clear across the street. The playful and organic design stands out from the competition by not looking like it came from a computer (even though it did).

TITLE: Admiral Travel interactive Web site.

ENTRANT: atLarge.

AWARDS: Gold ADDY for consumer Web site; Amy Award for interactive media; Judges' Choice award for best of interactive media.

Interactive media is the wave of the future, and atLarge takes you there with this easy-to-navigate site. Flashy photography from exotic locales draws you in, and the well-organized tabs make moving around a breeze. Best of all, it's crammed with content, including bios and photos of all of Admiral's consultants and entire travel articles from major publications.

TITLE: Palm Development Beach Villas sales brochure.

ENTRANT: Clarke Advertising and Public Relations.

AWARDS: Silver ADDY for collateral material.

Marketing the beach is the surefire way to sell almost anything here. Clarke does it for Palm Beach Development with a striking image from a unique perspective-some sand, some glinting water and what a tan. The brochure handles copy particularly well, emphasizing drama on the front but tucking the details away on the back with creamy colors that soothe the sun's scorch.

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