Fantasy drivers: AMA rewards local campaigns

An ad campaign exposing the secret lives of auto racers and a 15-second public television promo for the Hook were the top ad campaigns last week in the American Marketing Association's annual contest, Charlottesville's version of the Clios.

The Payne Ross print ads for CDOC, an auto racing supply company, portrayed a staid suburbanite whose heart throbs for auto racing.

In one, a closet full of drab business garb is enlivened by a lone white Bell racing suit. In another, tire tracks in just one driveway in a cookie-cutter neighborhood reveal which house harbors the race enthusiast. And in, well, the "raciest" of these racing ads, a bedpost has been replaced with a shock absorber.

Creative director Jamie Howard [This person's last time was missstated in the print edition; it has been corrected in this online edition.–editor] says the bed ad generated the most response– including requests for posters: "Where the brand had once been anonymous, it is now a topic of conversation."

"This was a conceptual campaign– and extremely well executed," says John Martin of Richmond, one of the three judges. "It was a well-designed strategy based on real consumer insight."

Martin says the judges were pleasantly surprised to discover this unique campaign in a category often filled with "clich├ęd tacky retail advertising."

Although it has a retail presence on Preston Avenue, CDOC is primarily a mail-order house, says co-owner Colin Dougherty. He and his wife, Chris, started the business 10 months ago for people like themselves: weekend race fanatics.

"These guys are like Walter Mitty," explains Dougherty. "They're guys who work hard every day on a job and go out and race on the weekends." The catchphrase on the ads, "We know how you feel about racing," is literally true.

The CDOC ads have run in such niche publications as Porche Panorama, Grassroots Motorsports, and European Car. Followed by a page touting specific products, the ad campaign netted lots of orders and awareness, Daugherty says. The ads have not been printed locally.

Birch Studio Graphics took the Silver for a print ad campaign emphasizing the personality of realtor Tom Seely.

Over in the broadcast category, WHTJ took first place for a 15-second promo for none other than the Hook. The spot shows two fisherman landing a Hook on their fish hook.

"A simple concept with clean execution," says Martin. "It walked the fine line of public television respectability and getting across the message that the Hook is becoming a major news force in Central Virginia."

Based a concept supplied by Hook senior editor Courteney Stuart, the spot by WHTJ's Allison Benedict gives this newspaper its second association with a Gold award in two years.

Last year, the Hook earned a Gold of its own from a single ad showing the cartooned image of a woman struggling with a lawn mower under the sweltering sun. It asked the burning question: "How are you going to spend your summer?" The client was Meriweather Mowing Service.

"Your win last year was kind of an anomaly," says chapter spokesperson Elizabeth McMartin. "Normally, the things that tended to win were the big-budget things with lots and lots of pieces."

Organizers remedied that situation by adding a new category. The contest drew 33 entries, two shy of the record set last year, says McMartin. She adds that as recently as five years ago, the contest had just one category with three entries.

"It has grown over the years," she deadpans. "The work was more varied and stronger this year. We're talking about adding another category."

Category 4 Design's website for Shenandoah Shakespeare won the top Internet prize, while the cross-platform materials Payne Ross created for Norcross Station apartments won in the "overall" category. "Overall" silvers went to Probe for its WTJU 91.1 FM Jazz Marathon campaign, and to Gotham Graphix for its Charlottesville/Albemarle Airport campaign.

In the Print category, WorldStrides won for a direct mail piece, while The Ivy Group took the Silver for materials developed for Hospice of the Piedmont.

The event was held June 22 at the Glenmore Country Club.

CDOC knows how you feel about racing.


Hook  knows how you feel about fishing?


[Besides the misidentification above, another name was misspelled in the print edition; it has been corrected in this electronic edition.–editor]