The ANDY Awards
The Times Center
This ANDY Awards write-up has been sitting on my desktop for about two weeks, but deadlines are meant to be missed, I suppose. The event was on Thursday, April 14, and that weekend I went to a Yankees game, drank a lot of beer, screamed at Jeter from the cheap seats in the pouring rain and caught the worst cold of my life. Being the germ-incubator that I am, I got the art department sick, leaving no one to format this post. That's not so bad, because it gave me more time to reflect upon my experience to provide you, my adoring fan base, with the most accurate recap I have in me.
I met my plus-one, Jocelyn Johnson from Miller PR, a block away from The Times Center. She's a recent L.A. transplant, so we were embarking on our first ANDY Awards together. We arrived at The Times Center about 10 minutes early and were almost turned away until start time when I announced, in my New-York-cool-I've-seen-everything voice, "I'm press." Access granted. My first order of business was to find Gayle Taryn, PR Director of The AD Club. Granted, all PR pros are nice, especially to reporters, but Gayle was particularly warm and welcoming to Jocelyn and me so I wanted the event to be wonderful.
The space began to fill quickly with the expected 300 attendees, and attractive cater-waiters buzzed about with shiny silver trays full of Talentinis, the blood-orange and tequila or vodka drinks of the evening. Obviously, I chose the tequila version because I have no self-control. There were food stations everywhere with caterers serving up delicious-looking sliders and tamales, as well as servers circling around with a constant stream of little bites. I never get a chance to eat at these things because my hands are always full with drink, notebook and camera, but Jocelyn assured me that the food was incredible.
24 Seven sponsored the event, so I cozied up at a tall bar table next to a gaggle of girls who were with the company. Brenda Wiley, business develop manager at 24 Seven, quickly passed by, and I introduced myself. She's a friendly (pardon my cliché) ball of energy who described 24 Seven as "curators of creatively driven talent," before she sped off to the other guests, leaving me to her colleagues, where I had this exchange with one of them:
24SevenGirl: So, uh, when are you going to do your job?
24SevenGirl: I mean, like, taking pictures, getting names, covering the party. You know.
Me: Oh, um. I'm taking in the scene?
*This conversation is important because it marks the point at which my ANDY Awards experience entered its decline. I did spend more time with 24SevenGirl later in the evening and it turns out that she is very sweet and kind, and perhaps didn't know how to interact with me.
Before I go any further in this recap, I must make some things clear. I'm good at a lot of things like: feeling comfortable around strangers, approaching those strangers for conversation, discussing advertising (this is a given). But there are things I'm not good at, like: taking myself seriously, and taking seriously those with huge egos. In fact, the other day, my boss told me he decided to hire me when he realized that I was absurdly irreverent. So, as one may imagine, surfing this creative sea of ego in Midtown provided me with giggles. But if it takes the ego of Narcissus to come up with spots that make me LOL while I'm watching the fourth hour of "The Today Show" in my snuggie (hey, writers are late risers!), then I can accept that. That's my sidebar, and the rest of this little prosey nugget will cover only those cool breezes of creatives that made my simple heart flutter with a renewed sense of joy for the industry. Ah, to be young and in advertising!
I left the bar area and found Jocelyn, who introduced me to some people from Campfire. I had a great conversation with Simone Oppenheimer, Campfire's director of business development. I really love small agencies because I think they have the greatest stories to tell and Campfire really supports this theory. Of course we expect great things from the big shops like Ogilvy and Saatchi & Saatchi, those giants with million-dollar budgets and Harvard grads sorting mail, so it's unexpectedly refreshing when a darkhorse trots into town. I guess I'm saying that everyone should check out Campfire's work for the Discovery Channel and HBO because it's impressive.
I also met Andreas Roth and Florian Panier, finalists from Germany in the Student Category. They didn't win, but were excited and enthusiastic about the evening.
It was time to go into the auditorium for the show. I was sitting behind a row of man-boys who I decided were former frat boys from Big Ten's (Chicag-bros, if you will), who were having a wonderfully boozy time of handing out fist pumps, chest bumps and copious amounts of "Yeah, bro!!" confirmations for their winning colleagues.
I skipped out of the awards ceremony early because my attention span and tequila buzz were both wearing off. On my way out, I grabbed a gift bag that had a DVD of the awards show should I want to relive the event in the comfort of my home, and a tiny bottle of 24-Seven-branded champagne. I walked out of The Times Center starving, per usual, and made my way to McDonald's where I asked for the largest order of fries they had. I hailed a cab, climbed in the back, popped open the bottle of champagne to go with my fries and sped off to Brooklyn, my ego slightly larger for the wear.
Other attendees (with normal-sized egos, of course): Toph Brown and Adam Noel with Droga5; Tiffany Edwards from One Club; Miller Caton of The Marcus Graham Project; Eric Kallman from BFG9000 with his wife, Rebecca; Stu Mair from Grey NY; Matt Eastwood of DDB; George Boutillier from Ogilvy and Conras Liesco of co:collective.
Be sure to check out "Just an Online Carrie" on Facebook for more pictures from that night. If you want me at your next party, email firstname.lastname@example.org