Client: Triangle AdFed
Year: 2016 – 2017

& Participation
In The Triangle’s
Longest Running
Event Planning | Teaser Campaign | Promotions | Award Design | PR | Video Production

In 2016, wmHarper helped the Triangle chapter of the American Advertising Federation launch a new campaign aimed at reversing a 3+ year decline in membership, award show entries and gala attendance. The AdFed and American Advertising Awards program (ADDYs) certainly wasn’t unknown. Established in 1905, the AdFed is the longest running and oldest advertising program in the Country. Our goal was to discover why people weren’t joining, submitting and attending like they had in years past, and to use that insight to generate renewed interest in the program.

A Clear Understanding of the Problem

Creative people thrive on inspiration. While much of the work being entered was, by all accounts, inspired the awards being issued were anything but. In an effort to simplify award orders annually, National AdFed leadership had identified simple glass awards that virtually disappeared when displayed – generating little interest or attention and certainly not inspiring anyone. Additionally, the gala itself had become repetitive and expected, leaving agency leaders without interest and young creatives without much reason for participation.

We needed to send a clear message to creative members of the Triangle that the 2016-2017 Gala would be a completely new experience – one worthy of their participation and creative efforts.

An Award that Doesn’t Inspire Isn’t Worth Winning
W mHarper began by working with custom designer Bennett Awards to create an all new icon for the Triangle AdFed. Borrowing on styling cues from the roaring 20’s, the new award was a bold figure made of pewter and wood – with heft enough to match the weight of the winner’s achievement. We then created a video in which the old award was smashed to pieces and the claim, “An award that doesn’t inspire isn’t worth winning” acted as our call to action.

In an effort to engage local agencies, imagery of the award became part of a teaser campagin which featured the shoulders and torso of a man holding an award as he, presumably, walked off-stage. The image was used online, in direct mail, as part of the invitation kit sent to local agencies and OOH.

Durham’s Cotton Room provided the perfect Gala location for the black-tie-optional affair. The converted top-floor warehouse-made loft provided 10,000 square feet of antique floors, exposed beams and floor-to-ceiling windows complete with a serving staff, catered menu, bartenders, presentation area and DJ. To top it all off, a red carpet and Junior Paparazzi greeted visitors as they came off the elevator into the event.

The campaign worked and the Triangle AdFed saw and unprecedented 64% revenue increase and more than 35% increase in attendance. News of the Gala took to social media as agency members shared pictures and commented on the event from start to finish. Better still, membership numbers hit an all-time high and the Triangle AdFed earned National recognition for being in the Top 10 performing districts in the Country for 2016.


Increase (YOY)





TOP 10

National Achievement



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