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Chicago Creative Club organizers promise an awards competition

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Rest easy, ad folk. There will in fact be a judged advertising competition at the upcoming Chicago Creative Club Awards show slated for Sept. 10, at the Riviera Theater in Uptown. In recent days, we've heard from some concerned creatives that the organizers of this year's show -- dubbed the "No Show" -- might try to cut out the ad competition altogether and focus on celebration and community-building.

But the event's organizers -- Matt Brennock, Liz Ross and Katie Juras -- told us over lunch Monday they have no intention of doing away with the awards. "We just don't want that to be the sole focus of the event," explained Ross. Celebration and community-building, the organizers hope, will be at least as important a goal as handing out awards. And Ross and Brennock emphasize that Chicago's ad industry has a lot of work to do in the community-building department. At last year's CCC show at Soldier Field, attendance was pegged at around 400 people. But we're told that the Minneapolis ad show typically pulls in a whopping 2,500 people. And even in Detroit, where the ad community has been especially hard hit by the economic downtown, the awards show attracts upwards of 900 or more attendees every year.

To help boost interest in the Chicago show, Ross wants to, as she puts it, "work from the bottom up," -- getting a lot of the youngest and newest members of the ad community excited about attending. And she's using Facebook and Twitter and other forms of social networking to help reach this constituency directly.
Meanwhile, look for a show in September where only the top awards are handed out on stage. But there will be more categories this year in which to win awards -- especially in areas that involve post-production, which has not been a focus of previous CCC competitions. Brennock also hopes to land a good music act or two that will light up the Riviera stage and entertain everyone.

The call for entries for this year's show is expected to go out on Friday. The organizers also have begun reaching out to local ad agencies for sponsorship cash to help fund the "No Show." They also hope to move a whole lot more tickets to this year's show at a significantly reduced price of $50 per ducat.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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