The Night I Got Effied

The Night I Got Effied

"Good things come to those who wait.” As do Effies, to Effie finalists. On Thursday, June 2, agencies all over North America were honored for effective creative advertising at Cipriani Midtown. Many of them waited years after a campaign launch for the recognition. Not as long as Leo waited for his Oscar, but not quite instant gratification.

Take USPS, one of three McCann NY teams awarded, and one for which I’ll show my bias because I work on the account. Our Corporate Reputation Silver Effie came two years after our client briefed us, 18 months after the “This is Our Season” campaign launch and 9 months after submitting our application. 

McCann, along with partner agency reps and client partners, made up two tables of happy honorees. McCann NY's New York Lottery team won a Silver Effie for "Small Budget—Products" and a Bronze for "Single Impact Engagement—Products" for the “Unclaimed: The Hunt for a Missing Millionaire” campaign, and the McCann NY/Humancare “Let’s End This” work for Mucinex won a Bronze for "Healthcare—OTC." 

And with four other McCann North America agencies awarded wins, it truly was a McCann family reunion.  McCann Detroit’s “Pure Michigan” work for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation won a Silver in "Sustained Success;” twofifteenmccann’s “Truth, Lies and Video Games” work for Microsoft Xbox won a Bronze in "Entertainment & Sports;" The Martin Agency’s “20 Years in the Making” work for  GEICO won a Gold in "Sustained Success – Services;” and Mithun’s “Mission Responsible” campaign for KeyBank won a Silver in “Finance.” 

***Disclaimer: we took one look at the line for the step & repeat and stopped. So no pictures of us as a group…does that mean the night never really happened?***

Yes, back to the party. Coming fresh off the end of the annual office fitness challenge, the crew donned our best glad rags and walked into a sea of black suits and dresses. I prep two hours ahead of time with not one, but two slices of dollar pizza doused in hot sauce because I’m expecting wedding reception-level lukewarm broiled chicken breast. Should have known Cipriani would do better than that…

For any seasoned professional, the pre-ceremony cocktail hour becomes a meetup of epic proportion, full of shop talk and personal anecdotes. If you’re newer to the game - like me - and unrefined in any event offering an open bar - like me - that first hour might evolve as such:

  • Make a mad dash to the bar upon entry
  • Fail in attempt to bounce back and forth between conversations your co-workers are having with people from their pasts
  • Attempt to make a run for it 
  • In a moment of desperation, try to hide in a crowd of executives from another shop
  • Cheer and revel when Boss’ Boss of the Year Yusuf Chuku takes you under his wing and stay glued to his side, swapping stories and having some laughs at the expense of people posing for the photo booth 

Then, over the sound of early 2000s techno, someone tells you to take your seat, so I do. I'm greeted by wine and a salad that’s really a large ball of mozzarella surrounded by some artful sun-dried tomatoes. Yum.

Onto the actual reason we are here. The North American Effies include dozens of categories and hundreds of awards, but it goes by quickly. Or as quickly as something like that can. Someone will give some remarks, then hit play on a video that quickly names the contenders and fires off a Gold, Silver or Bronze for each. No speeches, no thank you’s, no music that cuts people off if they take too much time — Oscars, take note. Then comes another set of remarks and another series of winner announcement. Rinse and repeat.

Oh, and while this is happening, don’t think there’s nothing else going on. People are talking and joking around, there’s strange music that rises to the top of the high-ceilinged room, your food comes and your wine glass get filled many times over. 

We win our Effies, and give each other polite applause and congratulations. A lot of golf claps and a few whistles. “These are so much rowdier in England,” Yusuf says. “We clap like we mean it.” He’s talking about the event as a whole, of course, not the McCann tables. 

A colleague catches wind of an afterparty and starts planning an escape to the W Hotel (not sure which one, because he never specified). I spill red wine around my boss’ place setting, narrowly avoiding his suit and drenching mine. I am certain this will show up in next year’s annual performance review. The smart people of the agency take off before any real debauchery starts.

Then comes the Effie Index, where they crunch the night’s numbers. Good news for us. With our 8 Effies, we jump 12 spots to be ranked 4th overall in North America. Our clients with us for the night are thrilled. 

The awards end with the Grand Prize going to Grey Toronto for a campaign about gun control, and we’re invited back to the bar for more drinks. I gulp down two glasses of water and head over to the photo booth, where we take too many turns. To think I was making fun of it not even 2 hours before. Finally, as the clock strikes 10:30, I cross the street to Grand Central to schlep my way back to my hovel uptown, with a slightly stained hemline to remind me of a fantastic night.

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