Award ceremony to bring together local creators

By Marina Csomor
Ingham County staff writter

LANSING — Jennifer Middlin knows that mid-Michigan’s creative advertisers don’t always get the appreciation they deserve.

But for one night every year, a local awards ceremony gives them their chance to shine.

“What’s great about the ADDYs is it brings together a community that’s a little bit under-recognized,” said Middlin, the director for marketing and new media for Lansing-based firm CiesaDesign. “It’s a celebration of all things design, and that’s just a good thing to be a part of.”

Beginning at 6 p.m. Feb. 23, the Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance will host its annual ADDY Awards in the Michigan State University Union, West Circle Drive, in East Lansing.

Ingham County creators in advertising and marketing will have the chance to show off their posters, logos, campaigns, websites and more, and receive awards for their works.

“It’s a fun thing because you know for that one evening a very loose community of creatives comes together,” said Henry Brimmer, a Michigan State University assistant professor of advertising, public relations and retailing who is up for multiple awards this year. “Most of the professionals in Lansing and East Lansing and the immediate area come to celebrate.”

Attendees first will get the chance to view the nominated work at a gallery where cocktails and appetizers will be served. Then, the awards ceremony will begin, and first-place winners will be presented their ADDYs.

This year, organizers planned an apocalypse theme.

“They joked that if anything went wrong, well, it’s the end of the world,” said Julie Becker, vice president of the alliance.

The group received more than 300 entries from professionals and students, Becker said. The local alliance is a chapter of the American Advertising Federation, and its three judges come from nearby chapters who assess these entries and determine the winners.

Those who win a gold ADDY locally will qualify for the federation’s regional and possibly national awards. Other nominees are up for certificates of merit and silver awards.

“For a firm like us, it’s recognition not just for our designers but for the firm,” Middlin said. “I think that people look at the number of awards they’re winning to gage the capabilities of a firm.”

This year, CiesaDesign, which has won multiple ADDYs, has 10 nominations.

Becker said the ADDYs give mid-Michigan creatives the opportunity to compare the work of rivals.

“We all do the same type of work,” Becker said. “We compete for the same types of clients, produce the same products. There’s an obvious sense of competition, but there’s also this really great camaraderie. You see the best of the best — this amazing output in Lansing.”

Despite the competition, the event allows artists to mingle, Brimmer said. It’s a night to network.

“It’s wonderful to get to chat with people, see who won what, and for me, it’s also important because I can make connections with people,” Brimmer said.

By holding events such as the ADDY Awards, the alliance provides Ingham County with a unique, local resource, Brimmer said. There is nothing similar in Ingham County.

“The Creative Alliance is in my backyard,” Brimmer said.

Although those in the area are not always known to appreciate art, because of the work being done by members of the MMCA, Lansing’s businesses and nonprofit organizations are more likely to invest in the area, Middlin said.

“They can see a group of people coming together for the betterment of design,” Middlin said. “It helps keep some of that work here local. I think they realize there’s a pool to choose from when it comes to getting work sourced and done here locally.”

Middlin said the ADDY Awards simply are a way to showcase and perpetuate the creative advertising and marketing being produced in mid-Michigan.

“The more we can talk about it and showcase what’s happening here, I think the better for everybody,” Middlin said.

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