Tradeshow Thoughts: Architectural Record’s Ad Awards

This month’s Architectural Record (June 2009) highlights the annual Advertising Excellence Awards. As the official publication for the American Institute of Architects, the awards were presented at the AIA 2009 National Convention and Exposition. A full list of winners can be found here:

Companies that advertised with a full-page or larger during the first quarter qualified for the awards. A jury of nine architects selected the winners and discussed their selections following the awards’ presentation. I had the pleasure of attending this year’s event with several clients among the 250 attendees.

For those of you who could not attend, here are a few notes from the judges’ comments regarding advertising aesthetics:
* Brown is the new green – Anne Fougeron of Fougeron Architecture said, “There’s a lot of sustainability messages out there, and they’re all green. We got it. Now pick another color.”
* Visuals tell the story – Tom Kundig of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects observed, “Architects are not typically readers. You need to show us.”
* Pitch the right tone – When showing materials related to safety and security, Todd DeGarmo of Studios Architecture liked it when an ad “reminds us, as architects, that we’re dealing with critical issues that can save people’s lives.”
* Respect the relationship – Randy Guillot of OWP/P emphasized that advertisers should respect the readers’ intelligence and not focus solely on selling a product. “You’re really advertising your brand, your company, yourself.”

Beyond advising on well-designed ads, the panelists also shared other thoughts on the information they’re seeking from manufacturers:
* First on the block – Design firm owners want what’s new. Many are looking for product inspiration from beyond U.S. boarders, both online and through international publication subscriptions.
* Dollars and sense – Along with initial purchase costs, architects are increasingly interested in the lifecycle cost implications of building materials.
* Application and analysis – Building information modeling (BIM), coupled with energy analysis data, is an important addition to manufacturers’ product education and services.

New this year for Architectural Record, “user engagement” award categories recognized continuing education, online video and online social media. The winners for these were selected based on traffic volume and voted for online by users.

For a closer look at these award-winning companies’ successful use of online media, I recommend visiting:
* Adobe, Acrobat 9 videos and its Design Center
* General Electric online CES course and appliance Web site
* Lafarge online CES course and its Web site
* Western Red Cedar Lumber Association’s Web site

For more information on Architectural Record, see its Web site and follow their posts on Twitter. For even greater interaction with the publication and its readers, check out the McGraw-Hill Construction online community forums.

For more on the AIA, consider visiting its Web site and conference and events section. You also may want to check out AIA’s YouTube channel. For more online resources and networking opportunities, there are AIA LinkedIn groups and Facebook pages for national and local chapters, as well as Twitter posts through @aianational, @aialobbyist and many others.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: