The American Advertising Awards: How to Win an ADDY

If you’re an advertising professional, chances are you’ve heard of the American Advertising Awards. If you’re not in the loop, have no fear! I'm here with your crash course in everything you need to know, from the basics of the competition to how you can enter and take home your very own ADDY Award.

What's an ADDY?

I'm so glad you asked! ADDYs are the awards you can win at the American Advertising Awards, the industry's largest creative competition. Each year, the competition receives nearly 35,000 entries from professionals and students alike. The mission of the American Advertising Awards is to recognize and reward the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising.

The most important thing to know about the American Advertising Awards is that it's a three-tier, national competition. The first tier takes place at the local level; for example, the Orlando competition — hosted by AAF Orlando, of course — will take place in February of 2021. If you win gold at your local competition, then you can proceed to one of 15 district competitions. District winners will then proceed to the third and most prestigious tier: the national competition. (Quick humble brag: for the last two years, Orlando had more national ADDY winners than any other club in the district!)

A look at the glamour of the 2020 Orlando ADDY Awards Gala

In other words, if you’re an Orlando advertising professional who wants a shot at a national ADDY Award, you’ll have to win at the Orlando and Fourth District competitions first. A panel of judges evaluates each entry based strictly on creative dimensions, awarding a Gold ADDY to the entry judged as superior to all others in its category and Silver ADDYs to other entries that are also considered worthy of recognition. The judges determine how many awards are given in each category based on the quality of work.

Best of all, entering the American Advertising Awards supports the entire advertising industry, because the proceeds go to support programs like public service, advocacy groups, advertising education, and consumer awareness.

How Do I Enter the American Advertising Awards?

Good news: by reading this blog, you've already taken the first step toward winning an ADDY Award. Next, you'll want to enter your local Ad Club competition and start your journey toward that national ADDY.

This year, the Orlando ADDY Awards Gala will be a fully virtual event, with judging taking place virtually as well. That means all elements of your entry will be uploaded digitally, so be sure to keep that in mind and factor in some additional time to prepare your submission.

Student advertisers, you can enter to win an ADDY too! The Student Division of the competition works the same as the professional competition, with work entering at a local level and moving up through regional and national judging. Work submitted can be developed specifically for the competition, or for previous projects or student contests — but it must have been created while you were a student and not employed in the advertising industry. (Interns are eligible to enter!)

For a breakdown of all of the must-know details for prepping and entering your work in the 2021 American Advertising Awards, be sure to check out our Entry Workshop. And you can share the excitement for Orlando's best creative work on social media by using the hashtag #OrlandoADDYs!


Early entry for the 2021 American Advertising Awards is available now! Through December 8, you can take advantage of early bird rates for the entry fee. Rates will increase on December 9, so be sure to click here and enter your work today.

About the Author: Nicole Wills is a communications professional and freelance writer with a passion for storytelling. She currently serves as the Content Chair of AAF Orlando's Communications & Creative Committee. When Nicole isn't writing, she can be found reading, playing video games, and hanging out with her cat (sometimes all at once).

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