Tuesday night, I attended the 2nd Annual Images In Advertising Awards hosted by AOL at Time-Warner’s swank headquarters above Central Park at Columbus Circle. Produced by the Commercial Closet Association, whose mission is to “educuate and influence the world of advertising to understand, respect and include LGBT references in advertising”, it was a typically fun night of open bars, schmoozing and gift bags, but it was also an important marking of the continuing improvements being made in the way advertisers portray and reach out to the LGBT community, advances made in no small part due to the hard work of the Commerical Closet’s founder and Executive Director Michael Wilke, whose Best Practices guidelines steer advertisers and agencies in the right direction.
Ad agency DDB Needham walked away the big winner of the evening, taking awards for Ad Agency of the Year and Outstanding Commercial, for their Guy Watcher Diet Pepsi ad. Other winners were Avis, taking the Outstanding Print Award for their You’re A-List To Us campaign, created by Impax, and ESPN for their Sports Is My Orientation Outstanding Trade Ad, which was created in-house. The Clean Up Your Act Notice, the Commercial Closet’s version of a Razzie, was given this year to Nabisco, for their Snack Fairy campaign, created by Foote Cone & Belding. (Complete list of winners.)