Thoughts on The Denver 50

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According to Matt Ingwalson who has been gathering and uploading entries for The Denver 50 courtesy of the New Denver Ad Club this weekend, there were 167 submissions to the contest this year. Granted, it’s the first year for the idea and not everyone may have heard about it. But let’s do some math, shall we?

Each entry had to be created during the last 18 months. That means there are 9, count ‘em 9, great pieces created in Denver every month. That makes us sad.

According to Henry Gill’s website, there are 314 agencies in Colorado (give or take). Let’s say those 9 great pieces are created in 9 separate shops each month. That means there are 305 agencies in Colorado that can’t come up with one great idea in an entire month. That makes us sad. And sick.

Hopefully, the work is stunning that wins. Hopefully, the judges decide to re-title the show The Denver 167 because they can’t disregard a single entry in the mix. Hopefully, we’ll have heaps of reporting to do when we’re holding the winners’ book in our hands in the coming weeks. Hopefully.


I think the Denver 50 should stay the Denver 50.

How many times have we grabbed a One Show or CA and said,“I’ve seen that.” or “That’s so old.”?

The Denver 50 is meant to keep those “times” to a minimum. Yeah, maybe something will squeak through that shouldn’t.
That’s the way the ball breaks.

I, for one, have a few things entered. One campaign in particular I’m hopeful is breakthough enough to get in.
If it does, great. If it doesn’t, I’ll just have to roll up the sleeves even higher and give it another run next year.

I think the idea of a small number like 50 is very intriguing and jazzes me up to do my best. It’s not about the best work. It’s about the best 50 pieces.

One hundred and sixty-seven entries is actually a ton for this format. Each entry was accompanied by between 1 and 10 executions. So I think it’s fair to say that the judges will be seeing more than 500 unique pieces of work.

The most important number to me is the number of agencies. Thirty-two is good, and I appreciate the enthusiasm everyone has shown for the show.

I’m confident we’ll have a killer book. It’ll debut at the show, which is tentatively scheduled for December 6. That date will be confirmed later this week.

The real winner is the New Denver Ad Club, generating $16,700 from the contest in one fell swoop. Hope some of that goes toward the party in December.

$16,700 is not a lot of money for an award show in this size of market. Typically, DAF shows raked in more money, because they allowed pieces to be entered several times in multiple categories. (A print ad would be entered as a single, as part of a print campaign, as part of an integrated campaign, as a poster and so on.) The Denver 50 wasn’t designed to be a money-maker. It was designed to be exciting and forward-thinking.

Always hated the idea of two shows in such a small market. But this was new and different. So, let’s see what happens. Hopefully, it doesn’t change next year.. and it can be something we look forward to year after year.

About how many great pieces of work were created. Not sure. We have some exceptional talent in Denver. And with Crispin here, the ripple effect will take its toll in a very positive way. We, as an ad community, now have a real opportunity to put this city on the map. Ok, we have some borrowed interest from our friends in Boulder. I welcome it how ever it happens. Now it’s up to the rest of us to put our best foot forward and stand for something.

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