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ABQ ad agency wins top award in national competition

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Albuquerque\’s McKee Wallwork Co. won a gold national ADDY award for a trade show booth it designed for International Paper. (Courtesy of McKee Wallwork Co.)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Add another ADDY to McKee Wallwork + Co.’s collection.

The Albuquerque ad agency’s lively take on a trade show exhibit earned it a gold ADDY in the American Advertising Federation’s national competition.

McKee Wallwork was recognized for a display it designed for International Paper’s appearance at a major design conference last May in Boston. International’s Paper’s supersized booth — 30 feet wide, by 10 feet tall — featured a robot drawing what Dave Ortega of McKee Wallwork called “random graffiti murals” on the booth’s blank-paper backdrop.

Ortega, the project’s creative director, said the challenge was to demonstrate that paper still matters in an increasingly digital world.

“How do we start a conversation with people who are trying to make decisions of paper versus technology? We figured, well, maybe we can adjust the conversation a little bit and make it paper and technology,” he said.

The McKee Wallwork team discovered “Senseless Drawing Bot 1.” Created by a Japanese robotics team, the robot was built to generate its own unique artwork.

“The whole premise we came up with is what if we could find an idea that started on paper, came to fruition and returned back to paper to complete this circle,” Ortega said.

Despite a mechanical malfunction on the eve of the show — which had the crew scurrying to a Boston machine shop in the middle of the night — Ortega said the robot was a hit. Its movement and murals attracted crowds and sparked conversations, all of which Ortega said helped International Paper generate new leads.

The annual American Advertising Awards draw more than 40,000 entries across a broad range of categories that include TV commercials, mass transit ads and even brochures. Competition starts at the local level with winners advancing to district competitions and, from there, the national pool.

A gold award is “recognition of the highest level of creative excellence and is judged to be superior to all other entries in the category,” according to AAF’s website.

McKee Wallwork won for sales promotion in the point-of-sale, trade show exhibit category.

The national winners were announced last weekend as part of the association’s “Admerica” event in Las Vegas, Nev.

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