The Date: June 11, 2007
The Venue: 1 Time Warner Center, New York
The Crowd: Comic Judy Gold was master of ceremonies; Commercial Closet board members, honorees and sponsors running the gamut from agencies (Euro RSCG, DraftFCB) to marketers (Nokia, Subaru) to magazines (Time)
The Drinks: An open bar at the VIP pre-ceremony reception meant guests could get sloshed to their hearts' content in time for the show, but the spirits weren't quite light enough for the comedienne hostess' liking.
The Swag: A big ol' gift bag from venue host Time Warner. Freeloader packed light and ducked out early; otherwise we'd report all the goodies.
Freeloader has been invited to so many awards shows in the past week alone, we expect to be nominated for something one of these days (Best Swag Critic at the Webbys, perhaps?). Until then, we were content to watch another batch of winners and losers at the third annual Commercial Closet Images in Advertising Awards, which recognizes achievement in advertising to the LGBT community.
As MTV learned last week with Sarah Silverman, a surefire way to keep your awards show sprightly and even buzzworthy is by hiring a filthy-mouthed comedienne, preferably one who appeared in "The Aristocrats." Enter Judy Gold, who did an impeccable job of presiding over the technical-difficulty-plagued affair.
First there was no music or audio whatsoever announcing each of the awards categories, which Gold mocked by rocking out to an imaginary song each time a new batch of nominees was about to scroll across the big screen. Then when there was audio, it was either too soft or far too loud (sample Gold quip: "I had to go fix my eardrum. ... Sorry, what?").
But no well-timed punch line could take away from the fact that 2006 was a rather disappointing year for LGBT advertising. Due to a "lack of worthy candidates," the Commercial Closet did not select an Ad Agency of the Year or Turnaround Mainstream Advertiser, making the ceremony two awards shorter than normal. Another point of concern came from the Clean-Up-Your-Act Notice, which gives an advertiser with an ad deemed particularly insensitive by the LGBT community the chance to make amends or, at the very least, defend its work. This year's recipient, DaimlerChrysler, for its fairy-themed "Too Tough" ad for Dodge Caliber, was the first to not make a statement in regard to the notice.
Luckily Gold knew just the thing to keep the crowd from getting too bent out of shape: throwing out a few curse words just to mess with the sign-language translator who accompanied her onstage. It was absurdly funny and educational -- as we learned, the pejorative term for the male anatomy is signed quite differently from its scientific counterpart.
But back to the awards. Time magazine won twice for the same campaign (Outstanding B2B/Trade Ad and Outstanding Lesbian Portrait), an adorable print ad in which two female partners touch noses as their newborn baby looks on with a face framed by a Time cover. Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams won for Outstanding Print/Outdoor -- Mainstream Ad, and Judy Gold had some fun with Ra-Re, the winner for Outstanding Print -- International GLBT Media, calling the company "rah-ray" as opposed to the less-glamorous "rare," its actual pronunciation.
The night's top award, Outstanding Commercial, went to Ikea, marking a triumphant return to reaching the LGBT community after catching flak for previous campaigns that alienated them. As the Ikea rep who accepted the award for the "Living Room" spot said, "I hope some day in the future, we don't win an award for an ad like this. It should be regularly accepted."