The MPA Kelly Awards in New York showcase the best magazine ads in America.

May 21, 2010

Three of the winners…

Earlier this week, I attended and helped host the MPA’s 2010 Kelly Awards in New York. The Kelly Awards celebrate the best magazine advertising in North America. I also served as a judge for this year’s competition, an activity that I wrote about on a previous post. In addition, my agency, Euro RSCG was lucky enough to be one of 25 finalists for our work on Valspar paints.

Historically, The Kelly Awards are known for the substantial cash prize given to winners of the Grand Kelly, for best print campaign in America. When I won it for Altoids, the prize was 100 grand! This year’s winner will receive 25K. Considerably less, yes, but still nothing to sneeze at. Part of why the number shrank is that more categories were added to the winner’s list. A mixed blessing, I kind of liked them having 25 finalists and one winner.

I owe the MPA a debt of gratitude, and not just for the hundred grand😉 but also for providing me what has to be the highpoint of my career thus far. I’ve written about this before. The year Altoids won the Grand Kelly, my brother, Jeremy and father, Larry, also had finalist campaigns. That all three of us were in attendance at the ceremony was pretty special. Me winning iced it! Suffice it to say, this year I was honored to judge and help host the show.

More intimate than prior celebrations, this year’s Kelly Awards, at the Prince George on 27th Street, was clearly pared down for economic reasons, indicative of myriad challenges facing the magazine industry. Nevertheless, the MPA and its primary supporter, RR Donnelly made a game show of it.

The Kelly Awards continue to be about one thing: the best magazine advertising in America. Maintaining this focus is key to the show’s integrity. The crowd may have been smaller than in past celebrations, but there was still plenty of creative talent in attendance. Agencies up for prizes included Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, BBDO, GSD&M and numerous smaller shops known exclusively for creative excellence.


image from Grand Kelly winner, Haagen Dasz

Creative director, Margaret Johnson, from Goodby won the Grand Kelly for her work on behalf of Haagen Dazs ice cream. I applaud this choice. It’s a delightfully simple, fresh campaign emphasizing those very same characteristics of the brand. Other winners included the lovingly crafted Taylor Guitar campaign from Vitro, The Martin Agency’s work on behalf of the JFK Museum and yet another brilliant execution in the “Truth” campaign (public service) from Arnold. No surprise all three have been here before, as finalists and winners. They’re good.

That’s the other great thing about the Kelly’s. Nothing in this show even flirts with mediocrity. All 25 finalists are best-in-class examples of their craft. With the exception of Cannes, most advertising award shows don’t have this level of quality control. Advertising creatives have always known this, which is why we consider the Kelly’s among the top tier of award shows.

For a complete list and showcase of winners go here.

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One Response to “The MPA Kelly Awards in New York showcase the best magazine ads in America.”

  1. tracy said

    Taylor Guitars is just beautiful. I don’t know what I love more, the copy or the wood type. I’d say they had me at “helper robots” but I can’t stop staring at the type.

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