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Gianakos, Cellular One big winners

Seven firms recognized by South Mississippi Ad Fed

HATTIESBURG — Recently, the eighth edition of the Ad Federation of South Mississippi’s Addy Awards was held at Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center. The awards are designed to recognize advertising excellence, and also to support the industry through establishing internships, advocacy groups and advertising education programs from the event’s proceeds.

Selected by judges from Jackson, New Orleans and Nashville, seven firms were awarded 19 Addys plus three special honors. The biggest winners were Gianakos Associates of Meridian, which won five Addys and two special awards, including “Best of Show.” And wireless telecommunications company Cellular One took a special recognition and seven Addys, an all-time record. The other winners were Bice Advertising Inc. of Hattiesburg; Chris Adams Design of Hattiesburg; the Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau of Meridian; Mighty Penguin Design of Hattiesburg; WDAM-TV of Jones County; and Larry and Debbie Blakeney, owners of Blakeney Communications of Laurel.

In all, 139 entries were received from 21 advertising firms from the South Mississippi chapter, which is nestled between the Jackson Advertising Federation and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Advertising Federation and encompasses Hattiesburg, Laurel, Meridian and surrounding areas.

“While the messages carried by these advertisers and advertisements are fully in the public eye, the creators often work in obscurity despite their talents,” said Jeremy Campbell of Blakeney Communications and president of the South Mississippi club. “This is our opportunity to focus the spotlight on their creativity and contributions to the outstanding advertising work being done here in the Pine Belt.”

“We want to win,” said Matt Martin, advertising director with Cellular One, when asked why he and his company are such active, and successful, members of the South Mississippi club. “It is a way to gauge our work with the best agencies in the area. We’ve been fortunate to do well in the past.”

The company did “well” this past year, winning more Addys than any firm in the eight-year history of the competition. Cellular One took Addys for self-promotion campaigns, a poster and magazine and newspaper advertisements. It also won the “Judges’ Award for Excellence in Copywriting” for their Addy winners.

“We have a great group of talented people who work well together,” Martin said, when asked the key to Cellular South’s awards coup. “Susan Taylor Miller and Jennifer Wicker McRae, and my boss, Ernestine Penland, who gives us the freedom to be creative, make for great chemistry.”

Martin also won two Addys for his work with Mighty Penguin, an agency specializing in design, writing, advertising and photography, for which Martin serves as creative director. Mighty Penguin was recognized for two promotional pieces created for the Ad Federation of South Mississippi.

According to the Mississippi Development Authority’s “New & Expanded Facilities Report, 2000” the Pearl River Resort and Golden Moon Hotel & Casino project underway in Philadelphia is second only to the Nissan plant at Canton in new facilities announced as ranked by estimated capital investment. It’s appropriate, then, that Gianakos Associates won “Best of Show” for its launch of the $750-million project.

Gianakos’ launch of the resort included an invitation, booklet, executive gift and name tags. Kim Gianakos, president of the firm, personally designed the package.

“I am thrilled to see our work honored in this fashion by our peers,” Kim Gianakos said. “It is especially gratifying to win ‘Best of Show’ for the work we did for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.”

The company also won for an annual report produced for the City of Meridian, which also garnered the “Judges’ Award for Excellence in Art Direction,” and four Addys for the Pearl River Resort Launch.

Gianakos Associates was founded in 1986, and currently employs 12. It is a full-service agency offering advertising, marketing, media buyer, public relations and design services, as well as headquarters the Amtrak Crescent Promotional Office.

Bice Advertising covets its Addys as the truest barometer of how well it stacks up to its peers. And the results have been impressive — over its history its won more than 35 Addys, including three at the district level.

“It’s very special,” said Rick Bice, a University of Southern Mississippi alumnus who founded the agency in 1978. “It’s the only forum that allows you to compare your work with other agencies in the area, region and nation.”

Bice Advertising won Addys for its television campaign developed for Lamar Bank and for a self-promotion utilizing mixed media.

“It’s all about interaction with the client,” Bice said when asked his “secret” for the agency’s Addy success. “We only have three full-time employees. We’re very small, but also very flexible. That’s important in a smaller market like Hattiesburg. In a smaller market, more one-on-one interaction is required. You have to work harder in a smaller market.”

Other winners were Chris Adams Design, for a direct marketing piece for Inventory Procurement Services, Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau for promotion of its Web site, and WDAM-TV for the WDAM Sports “The Sports Journal Open.”

And Larry and Debbie Blakeney of Blakeney Communications were recognized with a Silver Medal Award for “outstanding contributions to advertising, the community and creative excellence.”

The next stage in the competition is the 7th District Addy Awards, to be held April 21 in Baton Rouge, La. The 7th District includes 28 clubs in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee.

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at northway@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1016.

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