Monday, February 19, 2007

Sweet Revenge

Every February, the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA) honors the best and brightest in retail marketing with its RACie (Retail Award for Creativity, Innovation and Excellence) Awards. The awards dinner is always a lively event, with plenty of cheering and good-natured hooting and hollering. Maybe it's the nature of their job, but marketing executives definitely know how to have a good time.

This year's event was held Feb. 8 in Chicago. It was hosted by the quick-witted Manny Palomo, the group creative director for Best Buy (he must have been a television host in a former life, he was that good), with an able—and very telegenic—assist from sometimes-actress and model Daisy Fuentes.

While there were lots of cheers throughout the night, the biggest came when a holiday spot for Wal-Mart Stores was named "Best of the Best in Retail Advertising." The spot, titled "The 12 Minutes of Christmas," showed an unprepared guest at a Secret Santa party rushing to buy a gift at a Wal-Mart while other guests sing "The 12 Days of Christmas" (see image). He returns to the party, gift in hand, just as the last chorus is sung.

The spot was produced by the Bernstein-Rein advertising agency. The Kansas City, Mo.-based firm is the same agency that Wal-Mart recently dumped after a 32-year relationship. The ad won out over spots from such marketing powerhouses as Target Stores and Best Buy. (Wal-Mart's "Be Bright" holiday campaign, produced by Bernstein-Rein, also took an award.) The irony of the win, which was accompanied by much cheering, wasn't lost on Arlo Oviatt, Bernstein-Rein's senior VP and executive creative director.

"In the face of all the goings-on with the relationship, we stayed on task and really accomplished three goals: to keep the working relationship going with the client right up until the end; to maintain and secure the remaining profitability so that wouldn't go away; and to have a bit of a swan song we could be exceedingly proud of," he said.

The folks at Bernstein-Rein seemed like an exceedingly nice group of people.

They have refused to be bitter‹at least publicly‹about recent events. But they made it known at the dinner that they are alive, well and looking for new clients.

For a complete listing of the awards, visit

— Marianne Wilson

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