In typical Wcislo fashion, I arrive well after the party has started. As I pass through the front doors of the 2011 Addy Awards, I’m absorbed into a swarm of local creatives, each of which looks far more polished and presentable than usual, myself included. The cozy ski lodge-esque room buzzes with laughter, warm welcomes, and a lots of uneasy nerves being calmed by flowing booze.
The crowd appears to be much younger this year than the previous, or I’ve aged considerably in the past 12 months, both of which are strong possibilities. After shaking a few hands and kissing a few babies, I make my way to the bar to order a drink for myself and my date which, as usual, is arriving even more fashionably late than I. This year is quite different for me than any of our past three Addy showings, as the rest of the team had decided to take the night off and send me in as the lone ranger. I wasn’t the only lone part of 4O1!’s presence, as this year we had all our eggs in one Addy submission basket: www.DiscoverLehighValley.com. Although we had produced plenty of quality work throughout the year, we knew this was our stand-out piece and hoped the judges would also recognize and reward it’s visual simplicity and technological sophistication.
After a few more friendly encounters I realized both drinks I was carrying were completely empty… I suppose my nerves were a bit on edge as well. As I pressed my way through the crowd, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Kim Lilly, VP of DLV and point person on our lone submission, had shown up to the event on crutches from having had surgery just a few days prior. The sheer sign of confidence from our client was just the confidence boost I was looking for as the clock ticked away towards judging. I finally made it to the door and welcomed the brisk March air, which quickly cooled my clammy, suit-wearing self. Upon approach of a sporty little black convertible, I laid eyes on quite a vision of a beautiful woman. Her big brown eyes batted at me as she lovingly smiled and complimented my attire. I grabbed her hand and as she exited the car her intricately curled hair bounced. Once she stood up, it was hard not to notice the tightly wrapped golden dress that clung to her thin, feminine frame. From the looks of things, I was already the night’s big winner. She grabbed my arm and we entered the facility as the swarm of local creatives migrated from the the mingling area to their dinner tables.
Our table was smack in the middle of the ball room and conveniently the closest to the bar ;) Among our table-mates were two of the Valley’s most fashionable women, Pam Deller and Denise Conllin of Lehigh Valley Style, Kim from DLV and her proud mother, and the lovely Paula Di Marco Young from Young Medical Spa. After hugs, kisses, and pleasantries were exchanged, we sat and enjoyed the entertainment. This year, the Addy event coordinators made a great decision in employing the services of a talented and yes, very funny, professional comic, Ryan Hill. We enjoyed our food and drink as the board went through their usual spiel, a necessary evil such events.
Now that we were well fed and feeling slightly buzzed, it was time to see what awards our hard work had earned us. The Bronze awards are the first to be dished out. Being that we only had one submission, a bronze would have been a crushing blow. Fortunately, of the 49 bronze awards, not one had a 4O1! on it. We had passed the 1st test and the tension grew thicker as we moved onto the Silver category. Now, Addy silver is nothing to scoff at, but again, when you have all your chips on one bet, silver just won’t cut it. Twenty-one Silver Addy’s were dished out and again, 4O1! was not mentioned. Now this is a peculiar situation… Either your entry was so good that it earned more than a bronze or silver and you are about to wrap your hands around some gold, or you didn’t make the cut and you leave empty handed. It’s not advisable to be too full of yourself, so there is always that “what if” in the back of your head and you start second guessing yourself. Now that my nerves were tensing, adrenaline was racing, and a half dozen more vodkas had gone down the hatch, this whole category got real fuzzy. Somewhere in the dozen Gold Addy’s awarded, I believe towards the end, I heard the number & word combination I had been waiting for: “4O1! Creative“. In a complete haze, I jumped up received a few high fives, maybe a hug or two, and made my way up to the podium and wrapped my fingers around that sexy Gold Addy award we worked so hard for. Fortunately for me, they read through our list of credits and didn’t hand me the mic. A few pictures were snapped and I floated back to my seat with our shinny glass memento in hand.
Ok. So we won the gold and I should have been completely satisfied, but that wasn’t quite enough, at least not on this project which we had spent the better part of a year strategizing, designing, developing, tweaking, and testing. There was still one round of judging that hadn’t yet passed, Best in Show, the pinnacle of the awards ceremony. The Addy’s limits these awards to most outstanding projects submitted in each of three categories: print, broadcast, and multimedia. I wouldn’t have been completely satisfied unless I exited the building with one of these in my possession. Now I really felt the pressure. Was I expecting too much? Shouldn’t I just be happy with gold? Did the judges think our project was as good as I did? Did someone else out-do us with their digital expertise? AHHHHH!!! This is all a bit much. Just tell me who won the award and put an end to this dreaded anticipation. Then for a second time that night I heard that host speak that magic combination of numbers and letters… We did it! With one submission we managed to earn the two most coveted awards the night had to offer, a Gold Addy & Best in Show!
This was clearly a magical night that will go down in the 4O1! history books. It was only a shame that my team members weren’t there to share the excitement with me.
Thanks to everyone who dedicated countless hours to this project and especially Discover Lehigh Valley for putting their faith in a small local company to handle this enormous undertaking. Another special thanks goes to spark for helping us land the job, dividing and conquering project management, creating the visual identity, and writing fantastic copy to sprinkle throughout the site.
Thanks for reading.
Your Boy =b