Greetings friends and fellow advertising professionals… I wanted to take a moment to debrief from this year’s national American Advertising Federation conference… just as I did last year.

First, some news. In case you did not know it yet, I am the Governor Elect for AAF District Five. What does that mean really? Well, in essence, I serve on the national board of directors as a liason for district five which includes Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio. My role is to serve as the eyes and ears and advocate for all AAF members and member clubs in our district. That includes 11 professional clubs and 18 college chapters. I’m excited to serve and garner even more insight into the national agenda and activities. A second bit of news… regards the annual ADDY Awards held across the country each year. The three-tiered competition is being renamed and rebranded as the American Advertising Awards. That change is in an effort to give the competition more credentials, impact and unified approach. I actually like this direction a lot. The term “ADDY” is not going anywhere. Think of it like this…. The Academy Awards has its “Oscar” and the American Advertising Awards will still have its “ADDY.”

Now, here’s my 10,000 ft view of advertising trends, etc, for what it’s worth. First… times are certainly changing. While the biggest agencies in the country were still recognized for the “best work” in the business, it was not for the typical approach. Usually national television spots (Mayhem, Direct TV, Geico, Chrysler) take first place accolades each year. But this year, there was a new genre of top winners – and it was all about social engagement. The top two out of three winners were social media campaigns that were designed to reenergize existing (and very familiar) brands and to engage consumers. Consumers are playing an ever increasing role in brand content. Check out these links to learn more about the two winning campaigns. and

My second big picture observation is about the same as last year. Creative messaging and good content always wins. As one famous conference speaker said so eloquently… “Keep it simple and keep it tasty.”

If you’d like to learn more about the American Advertising Federation, contact me. If you want information how to get involved at the local level, visit You can start your journey to great networking, education and professional development there. Thanks – David Caldwell