Communitas Award Winner: Acadian Home Builders Association

Winner: Acadian Home Builders Association
Location: Lafayette, LA
Business Type: Nonprofit Trade Association
Nomination Title: Home for the Holidays
Category: Philanthropy

Throughout its 51-year history, the Acadian Home Builders Association in Lafayette, Louisiana, has donated nearly a million dollars to various shelter related agencies and construction related education programs.  AHBA members have made this continuing commitment to their community, even though AHBA is itself a non-profit trade association, which depends upon member dues and yearly projects to fund its own operations.

In November, 2005, the Acadian Home Builders Association established a new project geared to providing a more stable and predictable source of funding.  It’s called Home for the Holidays and each year, the builder-members and associates build and raffle a new home, with the profits dedicated to funding AHBA’s shelter and education related charities.

Since its inception, AHBA’s Home for the Holidays has awarded more than $955,000 to its adopted charities, including Habitat for Humanity, The Children’s Shelter of Acadiana Youth (for abandoned & abused kids), Faith House (for victims of domestic violence), St. Michael’s Center for Homeless Veterans   and this year has established a special fund with the Community Foundation of Acadiana dedicated to retro-fitting homes for returning war veterans with special disabilities.


Cool New Gadgets 05/18/12

By Gregg Ellman
Kensington has added the KeyFolio Secure for the iPad 2 to its extensive line of innovative tablet accessories.

The KeyFolio case is made of strong plastic, which doesn’t add much bulk to the iPad. It features an easy-to-use ClickSafe one-click locking mechanism and built-in security anchor to keep your tablet locked in place and secure.

It’s constructed from high carbon steel cables with a corrosion-proof steel lock head.

One end locks to your tablet and the other to anything you think is secure to hold it.

A Bluetooth keyboard is included with the case and can be used in the case or removed if you want to back up from the screen a bit.

The case also has a place to hold a stylus or pen, or just get the Kensington stylus, which features a rubber tip on one end for the touchscreen and a ball point pen on the other

The multi-functional case is available for pre-order at Kensington’s site or at Amazon for $129.99.


Cool New Gadgets 05/08/12

By Gregg Ellman

A little spring cleaning this week reminded me of a bunch of items I really like but just haven’t had the time to get to.

ZAGG sent an all-in-one press kit of accessories for the new iPad, although many of them can be used with any portable media device.

Included was the invisibleSHIELD ($29.99), the company’s patented protection cover film for the touchscreen.

When using it you still get 100 percent access to the device’s functions, as if you didn’t have anything on the screen.

ZAGG made the cover, which the company says is made from a product that was first used on U.S. Military helicopter blades and is now available for over 5,000 of today’s portable electronics.

My favorite item is the ZAGGsparq 2.0 6,000 mAh portable lithium polymer battery charger ($99), which supplies more power on the go than most any other portable battery I have seen of its size.

I gave a full charge to my iPhone and iPad at the same time with the dual USB ports, and it still had a little juice left in it. To recharge it just fold out the prongs to plug in to any standard household AC outlet.

While it’s recharging up you can charge you devices in the pair of USB ports.

The ZAGGfoam ($9.99) cleans all your devices and the ZAGGsmartbuds ($49.99) let you get the tunes from the devices to your ears in comfort.


Results for Hermes Competition released Today

Today is the day we release results in the Hermes Creative Awards competition.  Winners will be posted at 5 p.m. CDT.  All entrants will receive detailed results in the mail this week.

Many of our entrants will be extremely pleased, others will be disappointed. This is the 15th year that the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals has judged competitions and we don’t take it lightly that what we do is important to many people.

There were over 4,700 entries in this year’s Hermes. It took our judges about eight weeks to carefully scrutinize each ad, publication, marketing plan, website, video etc.  It might sound trite that each year the quality of the materials improves.  But, the fact is that people who don’t do good work, don’t enter competitions.  If you win a Hermes Creative Award, you deserve it.  If you didn’t win, you probably still deserved it, but we are only human and doing the best we can.

Regardless of the results, we recognize that everyone would like to see a written critique for each entry.  Unfortunately, we all have limited life spans and don’t have enough time to write detailed, defensible critiques for each of the over 10,000 entries that AMCP receives each year.

If you would like to see some of the entries, we highlighted a few of the outstanding or unusual ones on this blog.  These were not necessarily meant to be the best of the best.  We only publish entries that we receive online, and have been granted permission to do so.  AMCP recognizes that many of our entries are proprietary in nature, are done for the government or are entered by creative people who don’t have specific permission from the client they did the work for (the red tape for getting permission would in many cases preclude entering).  So we protect the privacy of your entries.  In fact, entries do not leave our facility and are destroyed or recycled immediately after judging.

If you were one of our winners in 2012, congratulations. If you weren’t, I guess we’ll be hearing from you.


Hermes Creative Awards: Hilton Worldwide

Winner: Hilton Worldwide
Location: McLean, VA
Client: Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Title: Lobby Design by Hilton
Category: 45. Publication Overall

Each year, the judges see the best work produced by the biggest agencies with the largest budgets. However, only a small percentage of the creative industry has the time and resources to produce a project that is the best of the best.  A shortage of time, budget and manpower however, should never be a limiting factor for creative ideas, artistic design or imaginative writing.

Our judges are all long-time experienced professionals who live the process and know how difficult it can be to take a mundane product and a small budget and make it sing.  Based on their experience and an expectation formed by analyzing the client and materials, they are often more impressed with the work of a small agency working on a local project, than the work of a team from a New York agency working for a Fortune 500 client.

One of our favorite entries over the years was the resourceful work of a public relations person for a small non-chain New York City boutique hotel.  She came up with the simple idea of writing a story about items that her client’s customers left behind in their hotel rooms.  Over a couple of months, she conducted a survey that revealed surprising and interesting stats on the percentage of forgetful people and what they forgot.  She included insightful comments from chambermaids about some of the unusual items.  The story was picked up by the Associated Press.  It ran in New York City and newspapers throughout the country.  Business immediately skyrocketed from the millions of impressions that it generated.  The genius was that it took virtually no money to produce a major impact for the client, and any hotel in the country could have done it.

That being said, it does help to have a large budget to design and produce a truly memorable printed piece.  Below is an entry from Hilton Worldwide that is one of the most all around outstanding pieces we have ever received.  It is a 200-page brochure for lobby design (forgive us but we condensed it to 11 pages).   It was entered in the Publication Overall category. Where do you start?  Cover? Design? Photography? Writing? Wow.  We’d all like to be part of a project like this.


Cool New Gagets 04/25/12

By Gregg Ellman
The NewerTech iSesamo steel pry tool makes the tricky task of opening iPods, iPhones or other gadgets pretty simple.

Instructions are included for opening some devices but caution should be used when opening anything to prevent damage to the case or the contents.

Once you have your device open, it’s simple to replace batteries (also sold at NewerTech) and do other simple repairs.

In most situations just insert the tip of the flexible steel blade into the seam of the device and then widen the cover from the back to unlock the clips.

NewerTech does have a warning about the iSesamo, “This tool is made of metal and can scratch the casing or glass of your device” so caution should be used. $9.99


Hermes Submission

Winner: The Chapter Media
Client: GE
Title: Capture the Wind
Category: 162. Television Spot

How do you visualize something you can’t see?  The Chapter Media of New York City created a commercial that captures both the beauty and practicality of wind.  Using breathtaking cinema photography and imagery, the commercial turns a message into a movie.  Wind power anyone?


Hermes Creative Awards: Dutch Monaco

Winner: Dutch Monaco
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Client: EA Sports
Title: Explore SSX
Category: 110. Animation

You don’t have to be a snowboarder to enjoy this website.  Through incredible animations, Dutch Monaco transports players to the ends of the earth.  Vicarious thrill seekers hurl down mountains in Siberia and blaze through snow tunnels in Antarctica.  The web animation was created for Canadian gaming company EA Sports for its Super Snowcross video games.  You don’t have to own a PS2 to go on this ride.


Guest Blog Column

Gail Cooksey
Cooksey Communications
Dallas TX

Recently I moderated a Dallas Press Club panel for journalists who were looking for new career paths due to layoffs in their field. The question came up, “Will there still be journalists in 20 or 30 years?”

It’s an interesting question that I often hear, and I have two answers. First, yes, there will always be trained journalists who we rely on daily for accurate, unbiased news reporting. And second, we will ALL be journalists due to the rapid explosion of social media.  In many regards, we will come to rely on both types of journalists for our news.

Let’s take the recent tornado outbreak in Dallas/Fort Worth as an example. As you may know, approximately 15 major tornadoes struck DFW one afternoon during the work day. At our office, we were glued to the local television stations reporting both the tornado damage and weather reports. (Yes, we did go to the stairwell at appropriate times.)

We had the TV helicopters giving us the live footage of the 18-wheelers flying through the air and the tornados forming in the sky. At the same time, “citizen journalists” were sending in their photos and footage from the ground, augmenting the official coverage from the TV stations.

It is this combination of two types of journalism that gives us a more full and accurate view of news events. Until recent years, we had to rely solely on formal news organizations to give us the news. Now we can all contribute to the news cycle by being in the right place at the right time.  Just look at the passengers on the JetBlue flight who got the only footage of the pilot going crazy as the plane was in the air, and whose footage subsequently went viral both through traditional outlets and social media channels.

As a former journalist, however, I know that we will always need “real journalists” to interpret, investigate and report on the news on a macro scale to give us the full story. And it distresses  me to see so many good journalists being laid off or choosing to leave the field. I can only hope  students keep taking journalism and aspire to become true reporters.