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LOS ANGELES-It was no surprise when Goodby, Silverstein & Partners won the $100,000 MPA Kelly Award last week. The red-hot San Francisco agency had good odds, producing six of the 25 finalists in the Magazine Publishers of America's contest for the best magazine campaign.

What was more intriguing was where the creators of the winning Norwegian Cruise Line campaign laid the credit: with the client.

In separate interviews immediately after the award show, Co-Chairman and Creative Director Richard Silverstein, copywriter Steve Simpson and art director Steve Luker each credited Norwegian Cruise President-CEO Adam Aron for allowing the campaign to happen.

A case of flattering the client? Not unless the trio rehearsed their lines.

"We have a really amazing client who gave us a mission of re-creating what cruising was," Mr. Luker said. "Cruising had become a commodity, like Motel 6."

The agency sold Mr. Aron on a b&w campaign where the focus was off the boat and on the fantastic and real benefits of escaping on a cruise. The creative approach was more akin to fashion or perfume, Mr. Silverstein said.

The campaign swept three category awards for copy, design and meeting campaign objectives and then won the $100,000 prize for best campaign of 1994. The MPA announced the winner at a black-tie dinner attended by 780 people at the Petersen Automotive Museum, which is endowed by Robert Petersen, chairman of Petersen Publishing Co.

One of the judges privately referred to the winner as that "boat ad," not remembering the name of the cruise line. But it must have registered with consumers; Norwegian Cruise Line bookings last year increased 20%.

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