This Year, You Can Attend the Kelly Awards in Your PJs

MPA Moves Print-Ad Award Show to Online-Only Venue

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NEW YORK ( -- You know how "awards season" rises to overwhelm everyone in every field every year? The Magazine Publishers of America have decided to battle awards-show congestion this year by transforming one of its big events, the Kelly Awards for creativity and effectiveness in print ads, into an online-only presentation.

'Just don't have time'
"We recognized that there is a large and growing number of award shows," said Ellen Oppenheim, exec VP-CMO, Magazine Publishers of America. "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 result is a planned "virtual" show, which is scheduled to go live on June 13 in lieu of an actual event. There will be a micro-site with an animated host and presentations, accompanied by video clips of judges talking about print creative and what they liked in this year's winners. The interactive presentation will also allow people to examine the work at their leisure in a simulated art gallery setting. Visitors will even be able to comment on the ads -- although comments will be screened to keep things relatively decent.

"I think it's good whenever award shows change things up," said Jeremy Smallwood, art director, Leo Burnett. "I enjoyed attending the Kelly's last year, but having an online show is a really innovative thought."

The magazine association is working with Visual Mercenary, the interactive agency and design shop, on the nouveau Kellys.

Altoids push won last year
The Kelly Awards, which were established in 1982, include a Grand Prize worth $100,000. Last year's grand prize went to an Altoids campaign produced by a collaboration between Leo Burnett and The New Yorker. Finalists for this year's Kellys will be announced Wednesday at New York Magazine Day.

Other award-season staples, meanwhile, are continuing to insist on flesh, blood and cocktails: The International Andy Awards Show and Party will be held at Skylight Studios in New York on April 26.
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