127 Addys for Tampa Agency, Retirement Delayed

I don’t know how much entry fees are at the Tampa ADDYS, but local Tampa agency Pyper Paul & Kenney hauled in 127 ADDYS this year. Someone must’ve sold a boat or two to pay for all those entries, but nevertheless, congrats to the folks there. That’s a sweep and a half.

PP+K’s honors included 63 gold, 55 silver and seven of the 13 Best of the Bay awards, the judges’ prize for copywriting and overall best of show. The work represented 14 different clients.
“What we’re most proud of is the fact that we won awards for fourteen different clients,” said Tom Kenney, executive creative director of the independent Tampa, Fla., shop. “Many times an agency will have a showcase client that they win awards with. We work hard to ensure that every client is a showcase client.”

Story in The Tampa Bay Business Journal and Adweek.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. I like their website. It does what it needs to, and nothing more. Pretty rare to see that sort of thing from an agency.

  2. I actually worked in that market for about 10 minutes, and can tell you that the local ad show hands out awards like M&Ms. If a piece is accompanied by an entry fee, it’ll win something.
    But 127 Addys??? That is beyond ridiculous. At the Boston Hatch show, I doubt if the entire book has 127 winners. I have $20 that says not a single piece gets in a reputable show book.

  3. Carl LaFong says:

    I have a passing familiarity with the Tampa market as well and I agree with Bob: They don’t exactly have the highest standards.
    Just look at the work on PP+K’s website. There’s some decent stuff there to be sure, but very little that is truly exceptional. For an agency that churns out such middling creative, they’re awfully cocky.
    One reason for PP+K’s massive haul is that they are not exactly competing with the creme de la creativity. With the possible exception of WestWayne, can you name one outstanding agency in the Tampa area? (And even WestWayne does much of its work in Atlanta.)
    Another reason is that PP+K had more entries than any other agency — about 20% of the total as I recall. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.)
    All of which proves what I’ve said all along: Award shows are meaningless egofests. David made the same point far more eloquently in his post about the Staples “Easy” button.

  4. I heard PP+K’s new web site is going live in a couple days. It will be interesting to see if the scope of their creativity matches their egos and “bad boy” attitude. I will say this though, I attended the award show…their stuff was leagues better than anyone elses…and their work was far better than anything I’ve seen between Atlanta and Miami…they certainly have the best Client list to do great work. Despite all the grumblings over their arrogance…I think it is all pure jealousy that someone has positioned themselves creatively. I’m quietly cheering them on and waiting to see what they do next.

  5. Carl LaFong says:

    I have no doubt that PP+K’s work was “leagues better than anyone else’s” at the Tampa Bay ADDYs, LaGrange. But was it because their entries were so stellar — or because the competitions’ was so hopelessly mediocre?
    And while PP+K may be head and shoulders above most agencies “between Atlanta and Miami,” again, that’s not saying much. (Although there are a couple of agencies in Orlando like PUSH that, while they may not be in the top tier of creative shops, are light years better than PP+K.)
    There’s no jealousy or hidden agendas on my part. I just call them as I see them. And in this case, I see an agency whose ego is out of proportion with their achievements. Just my opinion.

  6. I am laughing hard now Carl. You are absolutely right about the competition in Tampa being hopelessly mediocre. As far as Push being light years ahead..I don’t really know who they are…but checked out there web site. From what I saw at the Tampa ADDYs of PP+K’s broadcast work versus the broadcast work of PUSH…I think you are mistaken…PP+K smokes Push. Regardless..they are both talented shops in no-mans land. I guess the cool thing is that this little shop has popped up in less than two years and filled some big shoes. How long has Push been around? Were they making this kind of statement after two years? Who cares about all of this anyways…you are absolutely right…awards are just a bunch of blowing smoke up each others creative arses. Also…I’m not really sure what all the talk is about “egos.” I don’t know anyone over there…but what makes everyone say they have big egos? That’s all I hear about them.

  7. Carl…one more comment… You sound like you must work for Push advertising. I just want you to know one thing since I am on the marketing side of things at a Tampa company…and not very senior…but still hear about things going on. My friend just told me a little something about Push…and that they tried to get into the Checkers review but did not make the cut. And then he said…out of the initial 30 agency cut..which went down to 16…then to 7…then to 4…PP+K was in it until the round of four for the final creative shoot out…and were the only agency even considered in the southeast. They came up short…but the Client was blown away by them…So before you start talking smack about the quality of creative…maybe you should learn a little more first. If Push is so great…then why have I never heard of any of the businesses they work with? PP+K’s Clients already include some players. Why did they not consider Push? Ciao baby.

  8. Carl LaFong says:

    Sorry to disappoint, LaGrange, but I do not, in point of fact, work at PUSH – or anywhere else in the Orlando area for that matter. I simply used them as an example to rebut your claim that PP+K was the best agency between Atlanta and Miami. (Given that there are only three major metropolitan areas between South Florida and Georgia — none of which are exactly a hotbed of creativity — that’s hardly high praise.)
    I haven’t checked out PUSH’s website in awhile, but as I recall they had some fairly nifty print and interactive work. I think you’re right about their broadcast being somewhat lacking. Overall, their body of work is uneven, but still ahead of PP+K’s. (Again, that’s just my opinion as an unbiased observer.)
    I don’t know anything about PUSH’s background, so I am afraid I cannot comment authoritatively on the depth of their experience or the size of their egos. If you haven’t heard of them before, perhaps it’s because they are a small creative boutique without, as you so astutely noted, any well-known clients.
    As far as PP+K’s work is concerned, again, I can only go by what they chose to put on their current website. I’d never heard of them until a few weeks ago, when I saw an article in the Tampa Bay Business Journal about how they had entered an ungodly number of ads in the upcoming ADDYs (which no doubt accounts in part for their sweep of said show).
    Their ego and arrogance came through loud and clear in that article; I believe they even copped to it themselves. I was intrigued enough to check out their website. Based on what I saw there, I thought they were all hat and no cattle.
    Yes, they do boast some pretty impressive clients and their TV commercials are blessed with some slick production values. But when the best commercial is a knock-off of an early 90s Frutopia commercial featuring pastries, well, we’re not exactly talking Wieden + Kennedy — or even J Walter Thompson.
    It’s great to take pride in your work. But it needs to be leavened with reality — and humility.
    I suppose that’s why I took up the cudgel against them in the first place. I have an instinctive dislike for the hype and the hot air, the preening and the posturing that infects this business.
    Anyway, it’s just my opinion — no more or less valid than your own.
    Besides, at least we agree that award shows are meaningless orgies of self congratulation.

  9. “Award Shows are meaningless orgies of self congratulation.” Amen Carl. Peace Out.

  10. I don’t have a clue who the hell Pyper Paul + Kenney is…but if they are creating this much discussion on this forum…second only to the obvious rants on CP+B…then they must have something special going on. Also…what are all these comments about them having egos…I thought we were in the advertising business…is that not a given? 127 sure is a boatload of awards…it sure is a nice marketing tool also…it will be interesting to see how they fair at the national addys.

  11. I just have a question geared to anyone:
    Does it really matter how many entries you actually enter into an awards show and does this set a presidence on what an agency will actually win?
    From where I stand, it seems to me that no matter how much you enter should not be an indicator on winners(unless it is lightyears beyond the competition).
    Even though I am not in the Tampa market, I wish PP+K the best of luck in their endeavors.

  12. amy,
    why wish them luck? by entering at least 127 pieces, they greatly improved their odds of winning. most shops don’t even produce 127 pieces in a year. let alone 127 award-winning pieces. it says something about the event that they would hand out so many awards. folks probably received trophies just for attending the ceremony. it may actually lessen the value of a win. it’s like kobe bryant scoring 81 points. against the toronto raptors.

  13. It’s the same as every child getting a trophy for participating just in a sport. They are feel good awards. No one loses except perhaps the person who really does outstanding work and doesn’t get singled out. Even then they don’t really lose, they come to understand that intrinsic rewards are important.
    And if this society has any deep feeling left, they know what they know and they know what they’ve won.

  14. Carl LaFong says:

    Booyah, you are correct that egotism in advertising is a given. More’s the pity.
    The shameless showboating, the relentless narcissism, the pathetic desire for recognition is what makes this business so singularly unpleasant. I think we sometimes get so caught up in all the BS that we lose perspective and balance. We’re not curing cancer or creating great works of literature here. Even the best ad is only an ad.
    But the only thing worse than arrogance is unwarranted arrogance. Crispin is arrogant, but at least they’ve earned the right to be. PP+K hasn’t – not yet anyway.
    I would respond to Amy’s comment, but I think HighJive’s post says it all — and says it better than I possibly could.

  15. So let’s expand on this whole idea of awards…
    If awards mean absolutely nothing, then why do even the large / conglomerate agencies (CPB, Publicis, etc…)participate in awards shows? Is it to make the agencies “feel good”? Or possibly is it that clients may like the fact that their creative actually won an award?
    Even if an agency enters a substantial amount of work in a show, does this mean they will actually win a plethora of awards? If this is truly the case, why not just make it a donation / fundraiser and give the agency that brings the most cash to the table the winner? And then why are the awards show judged blindly, with no knowledge of the agency who produced the work?
    In the real world, people’s feelings get hurt. I tell my kids all the time that they will not always place first in sports or academics, not to discourage them from trying their best, but for them to understand they may be someone better than you in a certain subject/sport.
    Do the employees/staff of ad agencies have thin skin? I would expect them to have reptilian skin; as I am sure they have had ideas/concepts thrown out or have lost a pitch at least once.
    If awards are just to stroke the agencies that have entered their best work into a show, then why not just start a Advertising Anonymous group just to stroke the agency staff?

  16. This is out of control…lol…has anyone actually seen any of the work this agency, PP+K, has done? I just checked out their new web site…and their work is solid. I guess my mind is changing a little bit…if you’ve got great work…and it can win a lot of awards…and it creates a lot of press…then it seems to be pretty smart marketing. Even though they still seem to be a bunch of ego maniacs. Does anyone know anyone who works there?

  17. Carl LaFong says:

    At the risk of further flogging an already long dead horse, I just want to respond to Booyah’s last post. In the interest of fairness, I revisited PP+K’s website. It’s definitely different from the one I saw a few weeks ago. (LaGrange had mentioned that they were in the process of retooling their site.)
    A lot of the stuff is new — or at least it wasn’t on their old site. From what I could see, there is a marked improvement in the overall quality of their output. (Some of the ads are too small to read; they’re working on making it so you can enlarge them.)
    So, yes, their work is “solid.” But solid does not necessarily equal innovative or groundbreaking. I still think their egos exceed their actual accomplishments. Of the first two ads I saw, one (for Circle K) was a ripoff of an old J&B “Jingle Bells” ad and the other (for the Florida Aquarium) was a spoof of a Playboy centerfold — which has only been done a kajillion times before.
    I don’t mean to pick on these guys. God knows there are far worse agencies out there. (I should know; I work at one of them.) But when you set yourself as the Second Coming, you better deliver the goods — or else. It’s like Scott Baio going on “Inside The Actors’ Studio” and proclaiming himself to be the next Laurence Olivier. There’s just too great a disparity between rhetoric and reality.
    Oh, and to clarify: Amy, award shows are not necessarily “worthless.” That’s just my opinion. Others clearly do not agree.
    Long ago, before the advent of the Internet and the proliferation of magazines like “Archive” and “Creativity” (ugh), award shows did serve a valuable purpose: They were a way of being exposed to great work from across the country and around the world — work that might otherwise gone unseen by many in the industry.
    But today, there are just too many shows with the same judges that end up honoring the same work over and over. Instead of celebrating creativity, they have devolved into meaningless egofests.
    Call me naive, but I’ve always felt that the best judges of whether an ad is any good are the people it’s aimed at.
    Anyway, I’ve wasted far too much of everyone’s time — including my own — on this thread. So I will do everyone a favor and give it a rest.

  18. carl,
    i’m betting pp&k will copy this thread and enter it into an awards show.
    and they’ll win.

  19. HighJive’s right. If only long-copy entries could win…
    It always amazes me which posts on our site get the most discussion.

  20. klingonthong says:

    I’ve just laughed my ass off reading this thread and the Crispin Porter + Bogusky thread. Why does everyone hate agencies doing good work? To spend time on here blasting away at agencies can only mean one thing about the person blasting away…JEALOUSY. Obviously CP+B has proven they are the heaveyweight creative champion of the world…but why would anyone waste time picking apart some little agency in Tampa’s efforts at starting a little agency and doing the best they can? Why are they a bunch of arrogant assholes? They enter an award show and do really well…and then everyone slams them for it. What is this world coming to?

  21. Thulsa Doom says:

    Uh, gee, klingon, maybe the reason people are “picking apart some little agency in Tampa” isn’t jealousy at all. Maybe it’s just a matter of putting things in perspective. PP+K won a boatload of awards not necessarily because their work was so strong, but because the competition was so weak. Of course, the fact that they also entered far more ads than any other agency probably helped, too. This is industry is built on hype and lies. Personally, I find it refreshing when people call bullshit on it.
    As for Crispin, I don’t think you’ll get much argument about them being “the heaveyweight creative champion of the world.” Their problem isn’t that they are overrated like PP+K, but that they are overexposed. Yeah, they do consistently excellent work — but even they stumble every now and then. (Coke Zero, anyone?) Of course, as long as there are people like you around to kiss their ass 24/7 without taking the time to think for yourslef, they will have no worries.
    But hey, at least you got a good laugh out of it. So it wasn’t a complete waste, eh?

  22. klingonthong says:

    Thulsa…since you are such a critic…and I am guessing you must have seen PP+K’s work since you are able to detemine it was not strong…please tell me what made it so weak? Tell me more…so I can know how they are overrated…maybe they can learn something from your expertise. Also…I thought the ADDYs were judged by a panel of experts from other markets that are basically blindfolded from knowing who the author of the work is…tell me more about this o’ master of all creativity.

  23. Thulsa Doom says:

    Oh, klingonthong, your irrepressible scamp you! I never claimed to be a “master of all creativity.” I was just offering my opinion – same as you. Are you really such a delicate flower to get your knickers all in a twist just because someone has the temerity to disagree with you?
    Besides, I never actually said that PP+K’s work sucked. If you go back and read what I originally wrote, you’ll see that what I really said was that the reason they won so many awards wasn’t “necessarily” — key word, that — because their work was so strong, but because the competition was so weak. I guess subtlety and nuance are not your forte, eh, big guy?
    Yeah, in theory, the ADDYs are judged by outsiders with no bias or agendas. But if one agency enters a shitload more than the others, well, that kind of tips the odds in their favor, doesn’t it?
    As for whether PP+K’s work is really any good or not, that’s for you to judge for yourself. Stop being a sheep and start thinking for yourself.

  24. I know from reading this post not everyone will agree with this:
    PP&K hold themselves up as the beacon of creativity in Florida, yet their TV spots look like something from mid 80’s with updated production techniques. Most of their spots are retail which brings about its own set of limitations… on the other hand Goodby started getting car accounts like Porsche, Isuze, Saturn etc… because of the retail spots they did for Honda Dealers of Nth. California. Also, I don’t believe the Tampa Bay Devils stuff holds a candle to most of the other MLB work done around the country… to me, they look like they were done by people who don’t even go to baseball games. (If you live in Tampa it’s easy to understand why!)
    Their print work has way too many puns and shallow word plays in it. I remember getting hammered by headhunters in ’92 to get that stuff out of my book.
    Anyone who has been in this business awhile knows what goes around comes around… I just think it’s amusing that an agency who work doesn’t really stack up on a national basis would posture in that manner.
    It’s ok to be a big fish in a small pond, but when you do it on the web, all the other fish in the other ponds take notice. My 2c worth.

  25. Is there a reason for such critical evaluation on this blog? Is anyone that is actually spending time writing jargon on this thread working in a huge agency? Or is it just freelancers that have nothing better to do?
    Name one agency that has the best creative concepts / execution on ALL of the work that they have showcased in the last 6 months. Take your time, because I am sure you will be hard pressed to name any that you think their creative is continuously cutting edge.
    “Art is either plagiarism or revolution.”
    Paul Gauguin (1848-1903),
    French artist.

  26. You guys are all a joke. PPK and Push are crap. Look at their work
    versus Crispin Porter. There are a few good creative people outside
    of Miami in Florida, but the agencies as a whole stink. Winning local
    awards doesn’t mean shit. The very good shops don’t even enter the locall AAF shows. It’s like winning Miss Wichita Falls.