Speakeasy 2020: The ADDYs Go Underground

We continue to crank out exceptional advertising here in the Western New York area. To celebrate all that you do, this year’s American Advertising Awards brought some 1920s flair to 2020 with a speakeasy themed show that honored our industry and our local talent.

Our AAF Buffalo board of directors partnered with FARM for this year’s creative with fearless direction from president Josh Gumulak, co-chairs Lauren Carmer and Maura Noonan, and FARM’s Matt Cascarino, as well as major support and contributions from chair-elect, Katie Hazel, and special volunteer, Shannon Silva.

In our largest show to date, 455 attendees rocked out at Town Ballroom. Creatives came together to enjoy a preview of the winning work during cocktail hour and a presentation on the main stage. If you missed any the good stuff, check out the 2020 ADDY Awards YouTube playlist here.

Now, let’s get into the top dogs, the big cheeses, and the cat’s pajamas. Take a look at the night’s big winners.  

Professional Winners

Judges from Baltimore, Nashville, Kansas City, and Boston came to Buffalo in January to score more than 460 professional entries. 

Among many extraordinary advertising pieces, Crowley Webb brought home a total of 34 awards (12 gold, 22 silver); The Martin Group received a total of 29 awards (12 gold, 16 silver, 1 local award); White Bicycle took away 14 awards (5 gold, 8 silver, 1 local award); Mr. Smith Agency was honored with 7 awards (2 gold, 4 silver, 1 local award); and dPost rounded out the top five with 6 awards (2 gold, 4 silver). A total of 25 companies took home at least one gold or silver award.

Best of Show

The big winner of the night was dPost, picking up the Best of Show Award for their “Bring Home the Dome” computer-generated imagery.

Special Awards

In addition to each company’s entries, we recognize three outstanding individuals for their contributions and accomplishments in the Buffalo creative community. The 2020 special award recipients were:

The Levy-Osborn Award for Excellence in Communications went to Julie Zack of Villa Maria College.

The Joe Crowley Award for Service went to Dan Nesselbush, former vice president of AAF Buffalo.

The Future Star Award went to AAF Buffalo board member and Invest Buffalo Niagara’s Greg Pokriki.

Local Awards

White Bicycle took home The Creative Use of Paper Award for their 2019 Art Auction & Gala Invitation.

The CommUNITY Award for Inclusive Advertising recognizes advertising that addresses issues experienced by under-represented communities and gives voice to groups that have been stereotyped or ignored in media and by society, increasing perceptions and understanding of multicultural communities. This year’s award went to The Martin Group for their ADDYs Saints & Sinners Poster Campaign.

Mr. Smith was also recognized for the Best Show Book Ad Award.

Student Winners

Our own local judges, Matt Low, Tim Staszak, and April Brown, judged more than 60 entries from our area’s college students in January.

A total of 20 awards went to undergraduates from Daemen College, Villa Maria College and Buffalo State College. Francesca Bubb from Villa Maria College took home the Student Best of Show Award for her Calle Rica Food Truck.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Our sponsors are the bee’s knees. Thank you to presenting sponsor, FARM, as well as our other ADDYs sponsors: dPost, HMN Resources, Evans Bank, Dixon Schwabl, and VSP Graphic Group.

A special thank you to sponsor Oxford Pennant for this year’s high-quality pennant awards.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners! And cheers to all of the bims and birds who entered work and attended the ADDYs Speakeasy 2020 show. For one last creative fix, flip through the digital show book.

The gold and silver winners in both professional and student categories will have the opportunity to compete in the AAF District 2 American Advertising Awards. Check back on our blog to see those results, coming soon.


Recap: Preview Night

Last week, Buffalo flexed its creative muscles, displaying entries to this year’s American Advertising Awards at our annual Preview Night.

Overall, there were 526 entries to this year’s ADDYs, with each sprawled across Big Ditch Brewing’s space to receive the recognition it deserves.

Our club also broke a record this year for student entries, with 59 total. The increased student engagement is, as always, encouraging for our future pipeline of industry talent. 

Along with the viewing of our region’s top work from the year, industry professionals were able to network with colleagues and between agencies, showing the camaraderie of our community.

A big thank you to the team at FARM, as well as Shannon Silva, for their help in coordinating the night’s events.

The ADDY Awards will be held on March 6. Make sure to get your tickets here.


SKILLSHOP RECAP: Design Tips for Personalized Marketing Campaigns

At the end of January, AAF Buffalo & Compu-Mail teamed up to host a skillshop on Design Tips for Personalized Marketing Campaigns.

Compu-Mail hosted the event at their headquarters in Grand Island. It was led by a team of experts, including Michael Oliver, National Sales Representative, Allison Jensen, Marketing Manager, and Anthony Marchioni, Chief Technology Officer.

The event was kicked off with a behind the scenes tour that showed us the inner workings of Compu-Mail and direct marketing. Attendees were able to see multiple printers in action and projects being completed right in front of them. 

Once we completed the tour we regrouped over pizza & wings from Brick Oven Pizza to begin a presentation from Michael & Allison. The discussion was hitting on points from general direct marketing tips all the way down formatting for specific pieces. 

A few design tips direct from the Compu-Mail team:

  • Direct mail and print will help you create a strong and memorable brand presence.
  • The 40/40/20 rule is important.
  • Personalization can increase response rates by up to 135%.
  • Know your audience. 
  • Testing and tracking are critical to campaign success.

AAF Asks: Favorite Super Bowl Ad?

Though the Buffalo Bills weren’t playing in the Super Bowl this year, our board still had plenty to pay attention to. Below are their favorite ads throughout the night.

Oh, and GO BILLS.

Jeff Quinn – Groundhog Day, Jeep

In three words, “Bill F*cking Murray”. It is always great to combine a classic movie with a new promotion, also while bringing in an all-time great comedian. While this is my favorite commercial I think Budweiser – “Typical American” & Google – “Loretta” are worthy of a nod when talking about great commercials from the 2020 Super Bowl. Go Bills!

David Seifert – Smaht Pahk, Hyundai 

TL;DR – solid mix of celebrity cast members here. I found the humor pretty enjoyable. Wasn’t too obnoxious, and I’m surprised I wasn’t annoyed by this. Reminded me of the Dunkin’ Donuts SNL skit from a few years ago, which is one I enjoyed. A close second for me was Tide’s multi-spot story with Charlie Day. Also, #BabyNut should have never been approved.  

Greg Pokriki – Loretta, Google

In a society so simultaneously suspicious of and dependent on technology, I thought this Google ad struck the right tone, lending a helping hand to an elderly widower clinging to the memories of his since passed wife. It was the only ad at my Super Bowl party that made everyone stop the bathroom breaks and snack runs to sit in silence and give undivided attention to the spot.   

Ally Ruiz Balcerzak – Love Takes Action, New York Life Insurance

It’s easy to go from heartfelt to cheesy in a Super Bowl spot, but New York Life Insurance nailed the balance with their Ancient Greek definitions of love. The narration, combined with the brief vignettes, is a great example of “show don’t tell” and brought the viewer’s own memories into the spot. This one stuck with me long after it aired — and didn’t get stuck on a semi-obnoxious loop in my head (looking at you Oikos…).

Jordan Lema – Groundhog Day, Jeep

An ad that is an extension of a classic film, that plays on the actual holiday and stars one of the most amazing personalities of all time is an instant classic. I WANTED to see this ad and I’m glad that did. Perfect. Also, the groundhog character was very lovable.
Honorable mention: All People Are Tax People (Remix), Turbo Tax 

Katie Hazel – Groundhog Day, Jeep

Jeep nailed it with this spot. You were smiling the whole time and they got to feature the Jeep throughout. The brilliance of capitalizing on actual groundhog day makes it special and one of a kind. Bill Murray was amazing. The other spots I loved were Google’s “Loretta” commercial – it brought tears to my eyes, Hyundai’s “Smaht Pahk”, and the Alexa spot with Ellen and Portia gave me a good laugh.

Josh Gumulak – Loretta, Google

I spent most of today thinking I was going to write about Hyundai’s superbly-funny, “Smaht Pahk,” which was unequivocally yesterday’s funniest spot. But, I keep coming back to Google’s spot. 

Who doesn’t enjoy a great love story? The picture Google painted in only 90 seconds was as vivid as any advertising I can remember. Plus, it showcased a number of the Google Assistant’s more impressive features throughout the entire spot. Lastly, from an evergreen perspective, it lends itself as a how-to manual for the product on its YouTube page.

Most importantly – it ends with a dog. How are more people not talking about this?

Other favorites: Amazon’s Before Alexa, Snickers’ Fix the World, Microsoft’s Be the One, Resee’s Take 5’s Rock, and Facebook’s Ready to Rock… it was a solid year for $5.6M a pop. 

Casey Kelly – Cool Ranch, Doritos

Sam Elliott’s moustache about 30 seconds in, nuff’ said.

McKenna Murray – Smaht Pahk, Hyundai 

Hyundai set the bar early in the night with it Smaht Pahk ad highlighting the Sonata’s remote parking assist feature. Its dialog, cast, and wicked good humor drove it home ~hands free~ and left me even more in love with John Krasinski.
Other favorites: Google’s Loretta, Players Coalition’s Corey Jones story, Rocket Mortgage’s Comfortable/Jason Momoa

Maura Noonan – Loretta, Google

Hey Google, pass me the tissues. I personally love a Super Bowl ad that can make me cry into my chicken wing dip (as should everyone), and this year’s Google spot was no exception. During a time where digital assistants are growing at a rapid pace, I felt Google positioned themselves as not just another robot voice, but instead as an extension of your daily life. The ad was well done that while the brand was definitely a focus, it wasn’t the forefront of the story. Making connections with your target audience is more important than ever, and Google nailed it with this one.
Honorable mention: Jeep. Bill Murray, all day.

Colleen Colkitt – Before Alexa, Amazon 

The laughs from this ad could almost make you forget Amazon is listening to all your thoughts.  Just kidding. They featured an embroidery cross stitch just seconds into the ad, which is definitely something that’s always “recommended for me” on my Amazon homepage and really caught my attention. But then, throwing the flaming log out the window to lower the temperature? Nothing but laughs from me. As someone looking for a commercial that’s not too heavy and doesn’t make me ugly cry (*cough* Google), this was the ad for me.



Board Spotlight: Casey Kelly

Casey KellyName: Casey Kelly

Occupation: Professor / Freelance Designer / Jewelry Maker

Instagram handle: @jortsforlife / @prettyandgrit

Let’s hear about your day job. 

Where do you work, and what does your role entail?

I work at Daemen College as a tenure track Design Professor. My goal is to make students aware to as many perspectives as possible — both through design and worldly experiences —  so that they can build a kick ass body of student work, learn to problem solve and communicate through design in various media, and begin to find their voice as a designer. I am also a Freelance Designer and Consultant as time permits.

What drove you to get into the advertising/marketing biz?

I can’t sit still, I like to meet new people, and I don’t like monotony.

What do you like best about what you do?

As a designer, we have the opportunity to dig into various problems, brands, experiences, and complex businesses. Then we get to work with clients to simplify and share messages in meaningful ways. It is always changing. There’s never a dull moment.

What advice do you have for emerging talent in your field?

Ask questions. Never stop being curious. Get out there. Meet people and do as much as you possibly can to develop a diverse well of inspiration and understanding of this world. It will help you with your ideas and professional relationships.

What was your first job?

First ‘job’ was babysitting at the age of twelve. I look at twelve year olds now and wonder how the hell someone made me responsible for their kids at that age. (!) First ‘design’ job was during undergrad at Tony Walker & Company, where I cut a ton of foamcore signs (and fingers) and installed a lot of window vinyl.

When you’re not working, how do you spend your free time (hobbies, side projects, etc.)?

Cyclocross racing (look it up, you won’t be disappointed). Running. Hiking. Mountain biking. Golfing. The Bills! I also taught myself to metalsmith and launched a jewelry company that keeps me busy — pretty and grit ( And my freelance design and consulting biz ( keeps me on my toes too.

What’s one thing not many people know about you?

I worked at Crowley Webb for a short bit, and White Bicycle for seven years before getting into teaching full time. I worked a ton and met lifelong friends and mentors at both places.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate covered almonds from Lexington CoOp. Mmhmm.

What’s your favorite app or social media outlet? Why?

Instagram, because I am a visual learner and sharer. There are tons of interesting images, designers, and stories. I’ve gained inspiration and insight from following many designers, leaders, and business owners that I look up to.

Describe yourself in one word.

Free spirit. (But that’s two words, sorry.)

What’s the last thing you read?

“The Book of Secrets” by
Deepak Chopra. Hands down, best book I’ve ever read.

What’s your favorite hidden gem in WNY?

Hunter’s Creek Park. Go there for a hike with your dog, then hit 42North or some place in East Aurora on your way home. You’re welcome.

Duff’s or Anchor Bar?

Neither. Mother’s and Barbill FTW.

Now, let’s talk a little about AAF Buffalo.

Why did you join AAF Buffalo?

I enjoy the events, find the speakers insightful, and believe that AAF greatly enriches student understanding of advertising, and provides many opportunities for getting their foot in the door for an interview, an internship, or even a job.

What role(s) do you play on the AAF Buffalo board?

I am the Education committee chair and help with some of the design needs.

What’s your favorite AAF Buffalo event?

Any of the speakers. I love learning about different perspectives.

What do you enjoy most about AAF Buffalo?
The people.

How has AAF Buffalo impacted you professionally?
I won the student portfolio review when I was a student ($500 to Hyatt’s back then, which was like at least a year’s budget of Raemen and food). I got my first internship through meeting people at AAF Buffalo and the student portfolio review (then Brainstorm).

Have you made any life-changing connections through AAF Buffalo?

Yes. A few mentors who I have stayed in touch with over the years I met at different events.

What’s one pro tip you can share with our membership that will make their lives better or easier?

Addys… get there early, because that happy hour goes fast, and so does the alcohol.

Why would you encourage others to join AAF Buffalo?

Connections, friends, learning, growth in our skillset and field.



Recap: Jingle Bowl 2019

“F*** it Dude, let’s go bowling.” – Walter Sobchak, The Big Lebowski 

Oh did we ever bowl. The 2019 Jingle Bowl was nothing short of a success. Crowley Webb, Fifteen, Gelia, HSBC, Luminus, Telesco, FARM, Evans Bank, Quinlan, and AAF Board Alumni all came together on December 4 at Kenmore Lanes to bowl for a cause. 

Sixteen teams of four competed for the golden pin. And while Todd Harmon from Quinlan, with his shiny silver bowling shoes, stole most of the spotlight with winning Highest Individual Score for BOTH games one and two (and who was also on the team declared to be most festive), it was Evans Bank who took home the trophy with the Highest Overall Team Score: 1,141 points! 

Attendees donated to FeedMore WNY upon entering the event. Beating last year’s total, we weighed in at 531 pounds of donated non-perishables to help feed families during the holiday season. Way to go Buffalo!

Drinks were flowing all night long. FARM, the hosts of the 2020 Addy’s, made sure of that when they delivered pitchers of beer to each of the 16 teams of bowlers upon announcing this year’s theme: SPEAKEASY 2020 – THE ADDYS GO UNDERGROUND. We can’t wait to see what unfolds for this year’s show on March 6, 2020.

Thank you to Evans Bank who sponsored the event as well as Quinlan, Crowley Webb, and Big Ditch Brewery for donating prizes for our best (and worst) and most festive bowlers. 

You can find us in all of our ugly sweaters and shoes over on our Facebook page.

We will see you all next year!


Board Spotlight: Paige Lamparelli

Name: Paige Lamparelli

Role/years with AAF Buffalo: Vice President of Programming

Occupation: Social Media Manager @ Crowley Webb

Twitter handle: @paigesarah_PR

Instagram handle: paigeylamps

Let’s hear about your day job. 

Where do you work, and what does your role entail?

I work at Crowley Webb, a local advertising agency. 

What’s your advice for emerging talent?

Kill everyone with kindness! In PR especially, it’s essential not to burn bridges. We don’t always have the answers, but be patient, strategic and thoughtful.  

Tell us about organizations/charities you’re passionate about.

Buffalo Prep is an organization near and dear to my heart. I sit on the board for their Party for Prep event and consult their wonderful team on PR-related projects. Buffalo Prep is truly unique and continues to grow, prosper and make headways in Buffalo city education. 

What are three things you use at work every day?

Social media (my fav is Instagram!), Cision PR and Hootsuite

When you’re not working, how do you spend your free time (hobbies, side projects, etc.)?

Raising my dogs, Darla and Sosa 

If you could choose any song to represent you, what would it be?

When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio 

What’s one thing not many people know about you?

I was in a Madonna music video. Mic drop. 

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Disney World 3x a year

Now, let’s talk a little about AAF Buffalo.

What role(s) do you play on the AAF Buffalo board?

I am the Vice President of Programming.

What’s your favorite AAF Buffalo event?

The ADDYs! Aka the Oscars of Buffalo

What do you enjoy most about AAF Buffalo?

The friends I’ve made 😊

Why would you encourage others to join AAF Buffalo?
If you want to get involved in the industry you work in, Ad Club is the way to go. You will make long-lasting connections that could lead to jobs, board positions, and hey, sometimes even marriage. Even if it’s going to an event here and there, having a presence with AAF Buffalo is essential if you’re in the ad world here in WNY.

Events Speaker Series

Recap: Rob Baiocco, Spotlight Speaker Series

Rob Baiocco HeadshotWhat do you get when you combine a Buffalo lunch pail work ethic with global advertising aspirations? It’s hard to imagine it looking like anything other than Rob Baiocco. 

Born and raised right here in WNY, Rob returned to his roots last Tuesday night to speak to the Buffalo advertising community on why what we do is unlike any other profession. Plus, he shared just how cool some industry experiences of his have been. 

A life-long love affair with advertising

Throughout his hour-long conversation that ended with a lengthy Q&A session, Rob presented his top 12 reasons he can’t get enough of advertising, ranging from the luxurious – perks of traveling around the globe to shoot for hundreds of clients, to the practical – clients will pay you to do this shit.

He showed dozens of work samples, all he was majorly involved in, including Six Flags, Captain Morgan and, in true Buffalo fashion, Crown Royal. Many of the pieces were from several years and even a decade ago, and still garnered laughs from the audience.

Once (or twice) in a lifetime

More than three decades in an industry leads to some pretty incredible opportunities, and Rob isn’t short on them. He weaved his way in detailing his 20+ years at global phenom-agency, Grey, as well as his last 6 owning his own, The BAM Connection, in Dumbo Brooklyn. 

In his time at both, Rob was fortunate enough to work on not one, but two, Super Bowl spots. The first coming at Grey for client E*Trade, which showcased the infamous talking baby brand icon. The second, just this year, was for client [yellow tail] and helped to strengthen their Tastes Like Happy campaign. 

Special thanks to Rob for making the time to speak to the full house at Big Ditch, and for never forgetting his Buffalo blood as he’s enjoyed massive success over the last 30 years!


Board Spotlight: Katie Hazel

Katie HazelName:  Katie Hazel     

Role/years with AAF Buffalo: First year

Occupation: Associate Creative Director         

Twitter handle:

Instagram handle: katiehazel

Let’s hear about your day job.

What drove you to get into the advertising/marketing biz? 

I love coming up with ad concepts and using design to bring ideas to life.

 What do you like best about what you do?

Concepting a multi-channel campaign

 What trends or insights are you finding in your field/market? 

Integrated campaigns are so important because audiences are accessing media from so many new places.

What do you find challenging in our industry? 

Making an impact in less time is increasingly more important. With the use of :06 and :15 online TV spots you really have to get to your point quickly.

 Tell us about organizations/charities you’re passionate about. 

Our family has supported Roswell Park and the Ride for Roswell for 13 years.

 What are three things you use at work every day? 

My brain, computer, pen and paper

 What was your first job? 

I worked in pre-press at a small printer

 When you’re not working, how do you spend your free time (hobbies, side projects, etc.)?

Hanging out with my husband and two daughters

What’s one thing not many people know about you? 

I love watching football

 What’s your guilty pleasure? 

The Howard Stern show

 What’s your favorite app or social media outlet? Why? 

Instagram. Love seeing what people are doing through photos.

 Describe yourself in one word. 


 What’s the last thing you read? 

Dr. Seuss to my daughter

 What’s your favorite restaurant? 

Saigon Bangkok

 What’s your favorite hidden gem in WNY? 

De-Dee’s Dairy

 Duff’s or Anchor Bar? 

Anchor Bar 

Now, let’s talk a little about AAF Buffalo.

Why did you join AAF Buffalo? 

To make an impact on local ad events

 What role(s) do you play on the AAF Buffalo board? 

I am on the communications, education and sponsorship committees

 What’s your favorite AAF Buffalo event? 

The Addys

 What do you enjoy most about AAF Buffalo? 

Helping shape events that people enjoy and gain from

 How has AAF Buffalo impacted you professionally? 

Meeting new people in the advertising and marketing community is great.

What differentiates AAF Buffalo from other groups? 

Everyone is trying to make our industry better and we work together to put on great events to help highlight work, successes and make everyone better.

 What’s one pro tip you can share with our membership that will make their lives better or easier? 

Soak up the advice, insights and experiences from others so you can benefit in your own career.

Why would you encourage others to join AAF Buffalo? 

There’s a lot of insights and experiences that can be gained from everyone you’re surrounded by and at the events that are held.

AdWeek Events Speaker Series


To help us rethink our approach to culture, Keni Thacker joined us on Thursday, October 10 to be our first presenter in this year’s Spotlight Speaker Series.

Taking a page from a Tina Turner classic, Keni began his talk by asking attendees, “What’s culture got to do with it?” The answer: everything. Culture has everything to do with diversity and inclusion. From there, Keni illustrated what diversity, culture, and inclusion mean for our industry and what we can do to be better.

The Intersectionality of Diversity, Culture, and Inclusion

He asserted that diversity is one of our biggest dilemmas in advertising, with people of color sharing only 30% representation in our industry. To combat that, Keni suggest you assess your pipeline and consider new ways to recruit employees.

Next, he described culture as a balance of learning, caring, purpose, and enjoyment. Keni urged companies and agencies to show your people you care. Take an active part in their lives and get involved in what your employees are doing, inside and outside of work.

Lastly, Keni discussed inclusion and what we could be doing to make people feel that they are a part of our organization. He encourages us to partake in team building exercise and give people experience they’ll never get anywhere else.

Food for Thought

To improve the advertising workspace, Keni recommended you think of diversity, culture, and inclusion as a constant, reflective process. Always look for ways to evolve and reexamine what you could do better. He also suggested that decision-makers take a stand. If you have a seat at the table, use your influence to include more voices and keep your company progressing.

Keni concluded his talk with an engaging Q&A session that left the audience with plenty of ways to consider how culture makes an impact.