I remember my first black tie dinner. The details are vague, but I remember a room of almost 2,000 people, everyone in black ties and beautiful evening wear—they were stunning! I had never seen so many bottles of wine on a table complete with 3 wine glasses at each place setting. And since I was not of age, I won't tell you if I indulged or not but I assure you, my eyes were bigger than saucers as perfect dinner plates were passed with each accompanying bottle.
Donning a new dress and a face of sheer terror, I was going whether I liked it or not. I was elated to find out that my boss had sponsored the Fort Worth Ad Club's annual advertising industry awards dinner, the ADDYs, and had a table or two that needed to be filled. I was one of the lucky few that joined his entourage that night. It was considered as the biggest gala event of the year in the advertising industry and was held at what was then known as the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Fort Worth.
Later, I would come to understand the lasting impression that event left on me. Sadly, the experience I had that night so many years ago has faded over time and has become an event that Fort Worth advertisers have lost sight of.
The ADDYs was the one night of the year where every agency, large or small would come together to celebrate each other's successes. With powerhouses like McStay/Region, Witherspoon, Dally, McCone, Graphic Concepts, Lazarro and Assoc., Stewart Bacon and all the others, attendance was high. It was a night of respect, wine toasts and heavy celebrating.
It was a party where the entire room applauded respectfully for every winner as the beautiful ADDY trophy was presented to the deserving team. We were no less impressed with the Gold, Silver and Bronze winner for each category—always going to an equally clever campaign that must have taken months to produce by a team of talented men and women.
I dreamed that some day I would be one of those ad women. Now that I am, I worry that we've forgotten what the ADDYs should stand for. Has it become just another event on the calendar? Are we truly celebrating the work being done and the other brilliant creative minds in our community?
Running an agency is no easy feat. I work hard to instill in my employees to work as hard as they can 100 percent of the time, to dress like a professional and to always do the right thing no matter what the situation, because you never know how you'll be rewarded later. And those awards are important because it reminds my staff (and yours) that their hard work did not go unrecognized. As this once prestigious event becomes less formal with each passing year, it sends a certain message to the people who give their best ideas, who stay late night after night and who give up their weekends to see our agencies and our clients succeed.
It's imperative that we continue to keep this tradition alive for our young fellow advertisers and tell them our stories. We must regain the sacredness of this event—an event of honor and prestige.
On the eve of the 2015 Fort Worth Ad Club awards, now a cocktail event, I begrudgingly try to build up the desire to go. I know I will compare it to "what once was." I understand that our industry has changed considerably and the budgets are very different than they once were. While things are changing, what I do look forward to is showing my respect to my employees, my friends and to my old college self. I will enjoy my colleagues and will toast to another year of hard work.Cheers,