NEWS- Best seller: <i>Hook</i> ads net 24 VPA awards

VPA winners (clockwise from left) sales representatives Katie Delaney, Kate Sanders, Amelia Walton, and art director Allison Sommers.

A little over a month after the Hook won 21 Virginia Press Association awards for its news and other content, the VPA has once again smiled on the five-year-old weekly. Not only do the ads in these pages pay the bills, they brought home quite a haul of awards. 

On April 28, the Hook's art and advertising departments won an unprecedented 24 awards at the VPA's annual ceremony in Richmond, four more than last year's total of 20. By evening's end, eight first-place awards, 10 second-place awards, and six third-place awards had come the Hook's way. 

 New art director Allison Sommers showed why she took the helm in the art department last month, winning a grand total of 12 awards, including six first-place awards for home and garden (for a Meriweather Mowing ad with editor Hawes Spencer that shouts, "We Suck"), entertainment and lifestyles (for a Satellite Ballroom ad featuring adjectives pouring out of a gramophone), classified display, two for circulation and in-paper (for the Hook's own ad campaigns, including one with the tagline "place classifieds in your underwear" touting the Hook's website), and another for fashion and personal care (for Albemarle Dermatology's cheerleaders ad with the slogan "laser hair removal isn't just for the beach," sharing the award with sales representative Kate Sanders). 

"For obvious reasons 'We Suck' was a shocker," says Sommers, "but between that and 'Place Classifieds in Your Underwear,' it's clear we're not just winning for good looks, but for charm and sense of humor as well."

The Hook's sales staff also garnered its share of raves. Advertising executive Anna Harrison brought home a first-place award for real estate (Jim Quarles Real Estate with former art director H. Mitchell Jarrett) and a third-place prize for home and garden (Eco Clean, also with Jarrett). In addition to her first-place for Albemarle Dermatology, Sanders took home two second-place prizes for professional services (the "You Call, We'll Haul" ad for Linwood Dowell's Trash Service) and home and garden (Classic Furniture, both with Sommers). 

Katie Delaney walked away with second and third-place in fashion and personal care (Moxie and Charlottesville Running Co.) and third in events and multiple advertisers (Charlottesville Marathon, all three with former graphic designer Andy Wilkinson). Amelia Walton ate up most of the competition in the food and drug category with a second-place prize (an Ernest Hemingway-themed ad touting the The Virginian, with Jarrett). Special Hook business consultant Leah Woody snatched a second-place prize in education and churches for her Region 10 ad.

And though they're no longer on the masthead, several Hook alumni fared well. Jarrett, who just left to take a high-tech job in D.C., hauled in a total of six awards, Wilkinson claimed another three, and the Hook's first art director, Chris Conklin, nabbed first-place awards in professional services (along with staff photographer and wife Jen Fariello for Jen Fariello Photography) and second-place in events and multiple advertisers (the Warehouse District with Wilkinson and Jarrett).