The video opened with the sound of a running river and the image of a pair of jean shorts swaying on a clothesline — and by the end of the night, the ad had won an award.
Asheville-based Market Connections produced “The Summer of You” video ad for Brevard's Keystone Summer Camp. The local company was one of many honored when the American Advertising Federation Asheville announced its chapter-level winners if the American Advertising Federation’s ADDY Awards Competition at Highland Brewing on March 5.
“What makes a creative good is that it drives an action,” says the local AdFed chapter's president David Bonyun. “It can be to pick up the phone. It can be an emotional tear. It could be a sale.”
He uses an example to make his point: “It's kind of like the idea of a joke, [which] works because it walks you down a path you're expecting and then gives you a little nudge into unfamiliar territory. That's what makes us remember it and makes our brain say, ‘This is something unique and different; let's hold onto it.’”
From video to print graphics, Bonyun explains, the three-tiered ADDY Awards celebrate the best of the best in advertisements. Ads that win a gold award advance to the regional level. (Silver awards can also progress to the regional level, but require a fee.) Regional winners move on to the national level.
But what makes an award-winning advertisement? “The ADDY's celebrate the creativity,” says Bonyun. “It's not so much about the process, and it doesn't look at how successful an ad was or where it ran. It looks at the creative.”
For Dena Snyder, art director at Market Connections, advertising is a chance to tell a story.
“We're storytellers, and we like to tell stories for our clients in ways that people will want to engage with them,” she explains. But, Snyder emphasizes, these stories go through many drafts.
“We love to throw out any idea and then narrow it down to that one idea that we think will resonate,” she shares. “Things don't usually just come out off of the top of our heads. We sit down and work at different angles and think of different ways that people could relate to a message — building the ad around that.”
But behind visually appealing images and sounds, there is a method, Bonyun reveals. More specifically, there’s the hierarchy of needs, a psychological concept coined by Abraham Maslow: People are motivated to fulfill basic needs first (like breathing, food and water) before they can satisfy more advanced needs (like morality, creativity and spontaneity).
“Most advertising sits on the bottom tiers: food, shelter, safety. Those are the pieces fitting in, those are the pieces that drive a lot of marketing,” Bonyun explains. “What we do is find ways to find that's what resonates with people. These are things targeting people in a gut level.”
The summer camp video took four days of shooting to get the desired level of craftsmanship, look and feel, said Snyder. “As the art director, I always want to make sure we're not polluting a publication, but that we're actually making it more beautiful and adding value to it.”
This idea, Bonyun says, lies at the heart of the ADDY Awards. He says, “You see the science and you see the artistic side all really combining into a real craftsmanship."
— Caitlin Byrd can be reached at 251-1333, ext. 140, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.