Magazines' Kelly Awards Will Do It Live Once Again

Goodby Silverstein and Vitro Lead Nominees for Ad Creativity, Effectiveness Prizes

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NEW YORK ( -- Three years after the Kelly Awards, the magazine industry's top honors for creativity and effectiveness in print advertising, dropped its big live presentation in favor of an online-only presentation, the live event is back.

JFK Library ad

The Martin Agency received two nominations including this ad for the JFK Library and Museum.

The Magazine Publishers of America revealed the return to a live event as it announced this year's finalists for the Kelly Awards, which included four nominations for work by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, three nominations for Vitro and two nominations for BBDO New York, Carmichael Lynch, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, GSD&M Idea City, TDA Advertising & Design and The Martin Agency. View the full list of nominees at the Kelly Awards site.

Although the awards are meant to honor creativity and effectiveness, almost no nomination went to last year's controversial -- but creative and probably effective -- ads that approached or simply crossed industry guidelines over advertising's place in magazines. Scholastic Parent & Child, for example, has been running ads on its front cover, a violation of the guidelines set by the American Society of Magazine Editors, while Entertainment Weekly, ESPN, Esquire and others ran ads that at least involved the front cover. There was a nomination, however, for BMW's "An Expression of Joy" campaign, whose many components included a BMW ad that mimicked and ran on top of Dwell magazine's actual cover.

Awards show congestion
The magazine association did away with the live presentation in 2007, citing too many awards shows and not enough time. "We recognized that there is a large and growing number of awards shows," explained Ellen Oppenheim, exec VP and CMO at the Magazine Publishers of America, at the time. "And creatives just don't have time in this age of accountability to go to all of them even if they think it'd be beneficial."

The live event, once upon a time a black-tie affair, will this year return on May 18 in New York City as a reception where attendees can mill about with drinks and some food, with a segment to present the awards and to showcase select innovations. The reception and the awards are being sponsored by printer RR Donnelley, which is also sponsoring a new award category, the RR Donnelley Innovation Award.

"We had a couple things come together," Ms. Oppenheim said Monday. Creatives kept saying that they do like the opportunity to see innovations demonstrated and to network in person, while RR Donnelly came along with the sponsorship, she said. "It's going to be fairly intimate," she said. "It's not like we're trying to fill a room for a big black-tie event. That's part of what we walked away from because there are so many of those. It's not about buying tables, it's about celebrating the work and innovation in print technologies.

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