February 2020

Insights from Steve Pacheco

President & CEO, American Advertising Federation

As a college student (way back when) I had a print ad that I had done for a local advertiser that ran in The University of Memphis college newspaper (The Helmsman) that I thought was really awesome!  I wanted to enter it into the local AAF American Advertising Awards and see how good it really was. My faculty advisor helped me enter and I sent it in and I waited to hear back. I was so confident of winning that I started preparing an acceptance speech to be delivered at the local ADDY Awards coming up in February.  I never got to give that speech.  

I did attend the Memphis ADDY Awards that year, and when I saw the Student category winners on display, I realized why I didn’t win.  Those winning ads were awesome.  They were clever and creative and well-designed —way better than my hastily prepared print ad for a local laundry cleaners. It was in that moment that I was both humbled and inspired.  Humbled to realize that I didn’t know much about making great ads, and inspired that I had a lot of work to do to get better and try again. 

A big part of the AAF’s mission is to recognize and reward the creative spirit of excellence in the art of Advertising.

We have a proven track record of recognizing and rewarding the very best in creative Advertising from across North America for decades. 

The American Advertising Awards remains the advertising industry's largest and most representative competition, attracting nearly 35,000 entries every year in local AAF competitions. 

Each year, the AAF American Advertising Awards begins at the local level (the first of a three-tier, national competition).  hen concurrently, across the country, local entrants vie to receive an ADDY Award—recognition as the very best in their local markets. At the second tier, local ADDY winners compete against winners from other AAF local clubs in one of 15 District competitions. District ADDY winners are then elevated to the third tier, the National stage of the American Advertising Awards. Entry in your local competition is the first step toward winning a national ADDY and being recognized Nationally for creative excellence.

Entering the American Advertising Awards supports the AAF and the entire Advertising industry, because the AAF and its local and district affiliates use the proceeds to enhance Advertising through proven AAF programs such as public service, internships, advocacy groups, advertising education, and consumer awareness.

Selection of the most creative entry in each category is affected by a scoring process in which a panel of judges evaluates all creative dimensions of every entry. A Gold ADDY is recognition of the highest level of creative excellence and is judged to be superior to all other entries in the category. Entries that are also considered outstanding and worthy of recognition receive a Silver ADDY. The number of awards given in each category is determined by the judges, based on the relative quality of work in that category.

There’s also a Student Division of the American Advertising Awards competition, sponsored by the AAF.  This is a unique national awards program designed especially for college students. Work entered at your local level can move up to the regional and national judging, just like the work entered by professionals across the country.

For both the Student and Professional categories, it all culminates in the American Advertising Awards National Awards Show, which this year will be held on June 8 at ADMERICA in Palm Springs, CA.

We sincerely appreciate your support of the American Advertising Awards and we hope you take inspiration from the winners, just as I did way back when.
—Steve Pacheco

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 Posted: Februray 2020