Houston Business Journal - by Candace Beeke
Date: Monday, February 21, 2011, 9:51am CST
* Candace Beeke
* Email: email@example.com
This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Houston’s Addy Awards — a shindig that celebrates the best in advertising over the past year.
I’m well familiar with the American Advertising Federation, which hosts the event in cities all over the country. During the past decade, I paid attention to the Addys in West Michigan, where I covered business-to-business news. It was a very different experience Saturday night.
The Feb. 19 Houston event brought together the most creative minds in the city and showcased the finest messaging, branding, photography, copywriting and more. Any award event that spans five hours is tough to pull off without some attrition by the audience, but most individuals who attended stuck around to the end, perhaps because of the energy of the finalists and award-winners.
Or maybe it was Lou Congelio’s potty mouth.
The winner of two marquis awards that night, Congelio used some very creative language to describe his happiness and humility in receiving the recognition. Had I known such, shall we say “colloquialism,” was allowed in Houston public speaking, my past few engagements would have been much more colorful. I spend my days in a newsroom — I’m constantly repressing four-letter words.
Despite the interesting oratory, what held my interest were the award-winning campaigns and materials. I knew I wasn’t in Kalamazoo anymore when I saw names from the top one-fifth of the Fortune 500 list. Houston’s ad agencies work for the upper echelon of American commerce and craft marketing that reaches throughout the world.
That’s why it was surprising to me that the same concern expressed by marketers in West Michigan surfaced twice from the stage that night.
Both Congelio and Alex Lopez Negrete, owner of perhaps the most winningest firm of the evening, admonished Houston companies for going outside Houston for their advertising needs.
Really? I understand why firms in West Michigan battle a stereotype that Chicago or L.A. or New York agencies are more creative or sophisticated, but it’s surprising to me that the fourth-largest city in the country would battle that same ignorance.
In fact, I would have guessed the experience many Houston agencies have in marketing to the growing Hispanic community would tip the scales in their favor to win work away from less-diverse cities.
Perhaps it still will.
Read more: Marketers urge Houston companies to stay local | Houston Business Journal