The Night I Got Effied (2017 Edition)
If you’re reading this after this morning's 10:30AM mimosa, you’ll know we survived another Effies season and lived to tell the tale, leaning against flat, stable surfaces, large coffees in hand. A few brave ones reached for some hair of the dog.
Last night’s story is two years in the making, starting with a 2015 ceremony McCann walked away from empty-handed. Last year, we rallied and Effied with 4 McCann NY and 4 McCann NA wins. I bumbled my way through the ceremony and reported back here (http://www.truthwellbrewed.com/blog/2016/6/7/the-night-i-got-effied) and somehow got invited back.
This time around, a year older and none the wiser, sporting a busted eardrum that’s left me temporarily (I hope) deaf on my left side, I made the long journey back to Cipriani Midtown, this time with a bigger bunch of McCanners.
The night started in the late afternoon at our offices in the big corner room where our Global Creative Chairman Rob Reilly likes to entertain visitors. Strategy Chiefs Suzanne Powers and Steve Zaroff met us with big buckets of champagne and proposed a toast that lasted a good 10 minutes. Then, the couple dozen of us + 1 fedora were on our way.
You know the drill: Flash your ticket at the door and head immediately to the open bar for cocktail hour. Don’t waste time at the photo booths placed strategically at the room entrance -- those are traps designed to keep Snap-happy Millennials from people and drinks. [Disclaimer: I fell for it.] I used my deafness as an excuse through cocktail hour not to make any new friends. Then, too soon, some 2004-era techno blares and people start to usher you to your seat.
The new thing about this year’s North America Effies is that the Effies people decided that standing at podiums is boring. With technology on their side, they sent a bunch of camera people around the room to capture video footage of guests at tables while the Effies emcee cracked jokes and made intros in between the awards.
At one point, the host came next to my table for a short segment. Chris Cooper made the most of his 15 minutes of fame, pulling faces as he appeared on the jumbotron. If you ask politely, a half dozen people at this agency possess this piece of blackmail and might share it with you.
Incredibly, McCann NY had three contenders for the Grand Effie— the best of the best: Lockheed Martin, U.S. Army and ODOM. These are the only people who get to go onstage and accept heavy metal. What’s great about this agency -- beyond the defining values our Managing Director Devika Bulchandani encourages at our Town Halls (creativity, bravery, teamwork) -- is our humility. Each time a group from McCann made their way to the stage and received an award, they bewilderedly looked to their left and right and handed the Effie from person to person like a hot potato, mouthing, “Wait, me? No, you take it. You earned it!” You heard it here, folks: we are officially a no-assholes office.
After we ate pieces of steak the size of a small child, the Effies team took the stage to close out the night, naming the Grand Effie, Agency of the Year, Independent Agency of the Year, Network of the Year and Holding Company of the Year. Before naming Agency of the Year, the hosts prefaced, “Last year, this agency was 14th and not on the list. The year before, they didn’t win any Effies…” If this sounds familiar and like something you read a few paragraphs ago, you’re right — McCann NY was named Agency of the Year. McCann NA placed second for Network of the Year, and IPG was named Holding Company of the Year— for the first time ever.
The ceremony ends, and people are encouraged to head back to the bar. More 2004-era techno blares (thankfully, again, I couldn’t hear most of it) and the room loudened to a dull roar. Everyone hugs everyone and clinks glasses a bunch. Rob, Suzanne and Steve drag us into the Giphy booths. The next two hours feel like five minutes.
Then, too soon, some 2004-era techno blares and people start to usher you out of the building. Those of us who are still there make our way to The Campbell Apartment, where another three hours feel like five minutes. Strategist Jess Mendoza’s mom makes a guest appearance at the end of the night.
It’s time to go home. I get in a cab and narrowly avoid falling asleep, only to wake up to an email from Devika announcing morning mimosas. Until next year (I hope), Effies.