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More than 40 widely known awards programs recognize outstanding work by individuals and groups each year in the advertising industry. Among the top awards are the following:

The Clio Awards

The Clio Awards, founded in 1959 to recognize creative excellence in U.S. advertising, have long been recognized as the ad industry's equivalent of the Oscars. The award is named for Clio, one of the nine muses in Greek mythology, who a proclaimed and celebrated accomplishments as well as being an historian.

Over the years the Clio Awards program, which is owned by BPI Communications, has expanded to include TV and radio spots, print and outdoor advertising, integrated media, advertising design, Web site and interactive advertising, and student work.

To select the winners, who are honored at the weeklong Clio Festival each May in New York, a jury of internationally known industry executives votes on each entry? A first round of judging selects a shortlist of entries that advance to a second round. After each category's entries are examined separately, members record an "impact" score. Votes for advertisements in each category are tallied, and the total score is divided by the number of judges voting.

Awards are bestowed on entries scoring within a predesignated range. This scoring system makes it possible to award more than one gold, silver or bronze award in a particular category. It is also possible that no entry will win in a particular category.

American Advertising Federation competitions

While the American Advertising Federation sponsors a variety of awards and recognition programs, its most coveted professional award is the national ADDY. Competition begins at the grass-roots level in local markets throughout the U.S. Entries recognized as the best in their local markets compete against the best work in their districts. Winners from 14 districts compete in the American Advertising Awards competition for the national ADDY trophy.

The American Advertising Awards honors work in the categories of sales promotion, collateral material, direct marketing, out-of-home media, trade publications, consumer magazines, newspapers, Yellow Pages-type directory advertising, interactive media, radio, TV, mixed media campaigns, industry self-promotions, visual and audio elements of advertising, advertising for the arts and public service advertising.

U.S. college students compete in the AAF's National Student Advertising Competition, which started in 1974. Competing in this event requires research, planning and development of realistic and creative solutions that are presented to representatives of nationally or internationally known corporate clients. The NSAC is governed by the AAF's Education Services Committee, which is made up of advertising educators and practitioners from around the U.S.

The AAF also recognizes advertising "legends"—individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the industry—with its Advertising Hall of Fame. Its Distinguished Advertising Educator Award honors those with records of distinction in teaching, scholarly research, writing and student advisement.

The One Show

The One Show is an annual awards program sponsored by the One Club, an organization founded in 1975 to promote high standards among advertising artists and copywriters. Its top prize, a gold pencil, is one of the most coveted and sought-after symbols of creative success in the ad industry.

Judging panels are made up of the industry's most renowned creative directors. Categories include TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, billboard and public service. In 1997, the club introduced the One Show Interactive, an event bringing together and honoring the most creative among interactive and new-media advertising professionals. In 2000, the One Club introduced a competition for young creative professionals where 30 teams of college students and junior creative professionals compete in the categories of print, interactive/new media and TV advertising.

The Pro-Comm Awards

The Business Marketing Association has sponsored the annual Pro-Comm Awards since 1975. These awards recognize excellence in business-to-business marketing communications. The competition is open to marketers, agencies and suppliers preparing or producing marketing communications directed to industry, business or the legal and medical professions.

Pro-Comm entries are judged by a panel of business-to-business marketing experts on the basis of visual impact, product identity, selling proposition and effectiveness as related to stated objectives. Pro-Comm requires that all entries be accompanied by a brief statement of the communications objective, target audience and, if known, results of efforts. Categories include space advertising campaigns, single advertisements, direct mail, total communications programs, promotional material, corporate identity, annual reports, newsletters/house organs, broadcast media, audio-visual presentations, electronic media, agency promotional materials, public relations, and exhibitions and trade shows.

There are three levels of Pro-Comm awards: Professional Excellence awards, for excellence in business-to-business marketing communications; Best of Division awards, for the best single entry in each division or category; and Best of Show, for the single competition entry receiving the highest score.

The Effie Awards

The Effie Awards competition has been sponsored by the New York chapter of the American Marketing Association since 1969. The Effie, short for effectiveness, honors ad performance in the marketplace. Winning entries must show evidence of effective planning, market research, media and creative strategy, and account management as well as evidence of successful brand management, which reflects a strong working relationship between the client company and the ad agency.

Top advertising and marketing executives serve as jurors for the Effie. Judging takes place in two phases. In the first round, a panel examines only each entry's case brief, which contains a summary of the business results attributed to the campaign. Entries that make the second round compete with others in their category on the basis of case briefs and creativity for the Gold (the Grand Effie), Silver and Merit awards. Certificates of recognition are awarded to runners-up. Case briefs and creative materials are scored separately, and the final score is a weighted average of the two scores, with briefs counting more than the creative materials.

Since 1981, Effie Awards competitions have been established around the world, including Austria, Belgium, Chile, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, India, The Netherlands, Peru, Slovakia, and Switzerland.

The ECHO Awards

The ECHO is an annual direct-marketing awards program sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association. Dubbed the "Oscar of direct-marketing awards," the international ECHO award, established in 1929, honors direct-marketing strategy, creativity and marketplace results.

The judges of the ECHO competition, some of the industry's top marketing communications experts, examine 11 categories: nonprofit fund-raising, financial products and services, consumer services, business services, publishing, communications/utilities, automotive, manufacturing and distribution, packaged goods, retailing and direct response sales. The 10 media categories included are flat mail, dimensional mail, print, TV/radio commercials, catalog, infomercial, Internet/interactive media, telephone, alternative media and multimedia/integrated media.

Winning entries are awarded gold, silver or bronze trophies. A Diamond ECHO is reserved for the Best of Show, and the U.S. Postal Service Gold Mailbox is awarded for the most innovative and effective direct-mail campaign.

The New York Festivals

The New York Festivals awards program was started in 1957 to honor achievement in industrial and educational film and video. The program later expanded to include all types of media used by communications professionals.

Judging is done by an international panel of communications professionals and business executives. Judges examine entries in eight categories: advertising and marketing effectiveness, health-care, TV and cinema, TV programming and promotion, film and video, print and radio advertising, radio programming and promotion, and new media.

The New York Festivals present International gold, silver and bronze medals for the world's best work in advertising and marketing effectiveness, Global gold, silver and bronze medals for the best work in health-care communications, and World gold, silver and bronze medals for best work in educational, informational and industrial productions, home videos, short films, business theater and multi-image.

The Cresta Awards

The International Advertising Association and Creative Standards International launched the Cresta Awards competition in 1993. Cresta, which stands for creative standards, honors campaigns that have met an absolute standard for creative excellence in advertising and marketing communications. Entries are judged on originality of the creative idea and quality of execution. More than one entry can win in each category.

National and international advertising campaigns are eligible. Advertising clubs, agencies and IAA chapters from around the world organize the first phase of judging and submit a shortlist of finalists to an international grand jury composed of creative directors, film specialists and graphic artists, who then vote to determine Cresta award winners. Award winners receive either trophies or diplomas.

London International Advertising Awards

The London International Advertising Awards program, begun in 1985, attracts entries from international advertising agencies, production houses and new-media development companies.

The LIAA covers five categories—TV/cinema, print, radio, interactive advertising and package design—with many subcategories, each of which produces only one top prizewinner. Instead of convening a panel of judges, the LIAA sends the entries to each judge separately to evaluate for a two-week period. The organizers believe that this system reduces peer and time pressures and removes politics from the judging process. Grand Prize winners receive a bronze statuette.

Cannes International Advertising Festival

The Cannes International Advertising Festival began in 1954, making it the longest running of the well-known international advertising competitions. The International Advertising Film Festival, as it was first known, originally was held in both Cannes and Venice. After 23 years, it outgrew its Venice facilities and was permanently established in Cannes.

TV spots are judged by product category. Other entry areas include press (newspaper and magazine), poster (billboard and other public sites), Web sites, online advertising and media ideas (media strategy, planning and execution).

Judging is patterned after that of the Cannes International Film Festival, with international advertising leaders gathering during the weeklong program each June to judge the competition entries. The festival's highest honor is the Grand Prix.

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