Sawyer Awards Special Report: The year's best b-to-b ads

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This year, b-to-b ads became almost as ubiquitous on TV as beer and car commercials, with brands such as IBM, UPS, FedEx and invading our homes and our collective consciousness seemingly every day. And more and more, b-to-b marketers touted their technologies, products and services in newsstand magazines and daily newspapers, and on radio and billboards--all traditionally consumer-oriented venues.

To compete for attention amid the consumer clutter, the creative components of

This year's Television winners...
This year's Print winners...
This year's Interactive winners...
This year's Integrated Campaign winners...

these b-to-b ads had to be cranked up a notch, using humor and drama and other mainstream techniques to capture viewers' imaginations. Recognizing this, b-to-b companies and their agencies did exactly so, to mixed results.

Case in point: One ad the Chasers admired, Electronic Data Systems Corp's now-famous "Cat herders" ad that debuted during the Super Bowl, clearly shined by plying out a hilarious premise with a straight face. Even President Clinton publicly stated his liking ot the tongue-in-cheek ad, which showed rugged cowboys on horseback rounding up hundreds of cats on the dusty Western plains. But the Chasers are quick to point out that even though the laughter-inducing images--especially the one where a herder breaks out a lint brush--resonated in the minds of millions of viewers, it did virtually nothing to prmote the EDS brand. In fact, it looks as though the company's tagline and logo were tacked on almost as an afterthought.

Though "Cat herders" didn't quite make the cut with the judges of BtoB's 17th Annual Sawyer Awards, which recognize the year's best b-to-b advertisements, a select few did stand out from the crowd of more than 100 nominated ads from more than 50 b-to-b marketers. Read on to find out who won in the categories of best integrated campaign, best TV commercial, best print and best online effort.

How we picked the winners
The 17th Annual Sawyer Awards recognize the best b-to-b ads, across all media, for the calendar year 2000.
The Sawyer Awards, which were judged by the Chasers and BtoB's panel of advertising experts, is named in memory of Howard G. "Scotty" Sawyer, the longtime captain of the Copy Chasers. The Copy Chasers column was launched in 1936 in Industrial Marketing, a forerunner of BtoB.
To be considered for the Sawyers, the single ads or portion of the campaign must have originated in the current calendar year. And, of course, they must exhibit an exceptional mix of compelling visuals, sharp copy, effective branding and a clear, actionable message.
This year marks a more targeted look at the best b-to-b ads, with awards going to creative work in the categories of integrated campaigns, television, print and interactive.
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