Ad industry fetes its stars, big and little Cornerstone wins best-in-show among 7 ADDYs

'One rolling ball of fire'

W.B. Doner & Co. collects 8 awards

Eisner, 6

Gray Kirk, 5

March 04, 1996|By Gary Gately | Gary Gately,SUN STAFF

The denim jean jacket survived Woodstock '94, six Grateful Dead shows, Mr. Dodd's geometry class. Look for the Pythagorean Theorem on the inside left cuff. The funky lamp adorned Dottie Hopson's living room, spring 1954. Then there's the red bowling ball Hank Collins rolled just before proposing to his future bride in the summer of 1968.

The pictures of the bargains, found at Goodwill Industries stores, are real, their histories the stuff of advertising copywriters' fancy at Cornerstone Advertising in Baltimore.

The ad campaign, built primarily around four print ads and signs in the stores, earned Cornerstone the Baltimore advertising industry's most prestigious award Saturday night.

Cornerstone took the best-in-show award, topping 900 entries in the Advertising Association of Baltimore's 22nd Annual Best in Baltimore ADDY Awards Show, a black-tie affair at the Hyatt Regency on the Inner Harbor.

Of the 44 ADDYs awarded, W. B. Doner & Co. received the most, with eight; followed by Cornerstone, seven; Eisner & Associates, six; and Gray Kirk/VanSant, five.

Winning the top award is something of a coup for Cornerstone.

With only 21 staffers and billings of about $30 million a year, it has only a fraction of the staff and money that Baltimore's biggest agencies enjoy.

And the best-in-show award has gone to one of the city's largest agencies almost every year.

"In an advertising community that has agencies with offices across the U.S. and the world, for a shop of 21 people to be capturing best-in-show is really something," said Greg DesRoches, Cornerstone's president.

Each of the playful ads goes heavy on white space, surrounding small pictures of the Goodwill store finds, and a block of copy telling "history" and the price.

"One rolling ball of fire," reads the bowling ball ad. "That's what Nancy Collins called it back in the summer of '68 when her charming husband, Hank, proposed to her on Lane 9. Now available at Goodwill for just $2. The ball, not Hank."

Cornerstone, which began working with the chain of nonprofit thrift stores about five years ago, devised its latest ads to help Goodwill reach a largely untapped market: college-age adults in search of clothing and household goods to furnish homes away from home cheaply.

"We said, look there's a whole audience that we're not even talking to," said Erik Izo, the agency's creative director.

"We were just trying to get young people going in there to get almost a cult following for Goodwill."

The strategy seems to have paid off.

Sales in Baltimore stores have risen about 10 percent since the ads broke in October.

While the bigger agencies got the most recognition, smaller shops were well represented in the competition, judged by New York advertising agency executives. Doner, Eisner and Gray Kirk VanSant captured 19 of the 44 awards; the rest went to much smaller agencies.

"The smaller ones got more than what you'd think would be their proper share of awards," said Chic Davis, executive director of the Advertising Association of Baltimore, which runs the awards program.

"It just goes to show the talent comes from every level," Mr. Davis said.

Winners took home a silver platter, bragging rights and probably new business prospects. Now, their work moves on to regional and possibly national ADDY competitions.

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