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Thursday, Feb 2, 2023

Organizers Try to Boost Sagging Image of Ad Awards

Organizers Try to Boost Sagging Image of Ad Awards


by Claudia Peschiutta

The local advertising industry’s annual awards bash was a little different this time around.

The Beldings named after Don Belding, the late ad executive known as the “father of West Coast advertising,” had lost some prestige in recent years. This year, organizers decided to change the way the winners are selected in hopes of returning the show to its former prominence.

The Beldings had become a “weird celebration of super edgy work that may or may not have run for clients you’ve never heard of by agencies you’ve never heard of,” said one local industry source. “There’s an ongoing discrepancy in the industry between the stuff that wins awards and the stuff that gets the job done in the marketplace.”

But things have changed since Eric Hirshberg, managing partner and executive creative director at Deutsch L.A., became the Beldings’ chairman.

For example, product categories, such as automotive, were dropped and replaced with ones based on medium, including radio, television and outdoor.

Choosing winners by product created “bottlenecks” in some categories, Hirshberg said.

“You had 7,000 entries vying for one award in the automotive category (and) three entries vying for one award in the health care category,” he said. “Judges had to leave a lot of the best work out of the show and then strain to find something worthy of winning an award in other categories.”

Another change was more senior-level executives were chosen to judge the awards this year. The Beldings, put on by the Advertising Club of Los Angeles, were held Thursday night at the Wiltern Theatre.

The grand prize, or Sweepstakes award, went to Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles for their “Dog” television ad for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Among those taking home a “Belding Bowl” were davidandgoliath, Deutsch L.A. Inc., Ground Zero, Rubin Postaer and Associates and TBWAChiatDay.

Is Moyer Moving?

With Paul Moyer’s contract due to run out in June, there has been speculation about whether the veteran news anchor would remain at KNBC-TV (Channel 4).

“I just cannot discuss what’s going on right now,” Moyer said last week. He is the co-anchor of the 5 and 11 p.m. newscasts at KNBC, where he has been since 1992. Moyer returned to the station, where he worked from 1972-79, after 13 years at KABC-TV (Channel 7).

Recent postings on local media Web site RonFineman.com have brought up the question of whether Moyer would move over to KCBS-TV (Channel 2), which has attracted well-known talent from its rivals in recent years.

“We have no plans of hiring Paul Moyer,” said Princell Hair, corporate director of news for the Viacom Television Station Group. He declined to comment further.

PR Students To Go Abroad

PR giant Weber Shandwick and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School have joined to create a fellowship program for graduate public relations students.

The Weber Shandwick/USC International PR Fellow Program plans to send eight students to work in the firm’s UK and Ireland offices for six weeks this summer. Weber Shandwick is supporting the students’ participation through a grant.

Making Music

After 55 years in the news business, Jerry Dunphy may have found a second career for himself.

The KCAL-TV (Channel 9) news anchor is working on an album of romantic ballads titled “From the Desert to the Sea, From My Heart to Yours” that he hopes to release as soon as this fall. A lyricist, Dunphy has musicians helping him out with the music and he’s lining up singers to perform them, including crooner George Bugatti.

The album’s title is based on his signature on-air greeting: “From the desert to the sea to all of Southern California, good evening.”

“I’ve been fooling around with (music composition) for about 13 years,” Dunphy said. He does it for “the satisfaction of making it work and enjoying the marriage of words and music.”

The veteran news man is paying to produce the album, although he won’t say how much it’s cost him so far, and is considering selling it through an 800 telephone number.

Some of his compositions have already made it onto albums. Wayne Newton recorded Dunphy’s “Cowboy’s Christmas” and “She’s My Saturday Night Special.”

Sand and Water

L.A. County beaches will soon have their own official brands of water.

Nestle Waters North America Inc. has worked out a seven-year deal with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors that allows the company to exclusively sell and advertise Arrowhead and Perrier water from Malibu down to Long Beach in exchange for helping to care for the beaches.

Nestle Waters will provide about $6 million in sponsorships and more in donated goods and services to support beach maintenance, public services and youth programs. The company will sponsor everything from beach benches to volleyball nets and provide lifeguards and other beach workers with 3,000 cases of bottled water a year.

“This is a win-win (situation) for L.A. County beaches,” said John Musella, press deputy to Supervisor Don Knabe. The agreement also comes with options that could extend it to 13 years and bring Nestle Waters’ total contribution to more than $14 million.

This is not the first such deal for county beaches. The trucks, trunks and bathing suits used by county lifeguards are sponsored by different advertisers. The county also sells advertising space on lifeguard stations.

In Other News…

The LA Weekly and New Times Los Angeles are up for a few Alternative Newsweekly Awards. The Weekly is in the running for editorial layout, health care writing and news feature awards. The papers are competing against each other and two others in the illustration category for papers with a circulation of more than 54,000. The winners will be announced later this month… Speechwriter and political analyst David Frum, touted as author of “nearly all of the phrase ‘axis of evil,'” made famous by President George W. Bush during his 2002 State of the Union address, has returned to “Left, Right & Center.” The political analysis show airs Tuesdays on KCRW-FM (89.9).

Staff reporter Claudia Peschiutta can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 229, or at



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