By Matt Smith

Last week I wrote about some great work from agencies that won ADDY awards at the recent awards gala for the D.C. region. And all those awards got me thinking that at this year’s ADDYs we witnessed something we haven’t seen in a while—a relatively even field of winners.

Yes, Ogilvy walked away with “Best of Show,” and a couple of other shops won multiple awards (including Admirable Devil, which was the subject of last week’s column). Nonetheless, by my rough count, about 30 other shops also won gold and silver awards for an exceptionally wide range of work.

What that tells me is that in our region we have many agencies doing the kind of great work that translates into multiple opportunities for creative talent. And this is one of the keys to the overall success of D.C.’s advertising community.

I’ve been preaching for a long time that the D.C. area produces great work, and that the notion that top talent always migrates to New York, Los Angeles or other so-called hot spots of advertising creativity is a myth. That thesis is the primary reason I started my “Oh, That’s Good” column—to identify, praise and showcase the terrific work being created in our own backyard.

Multiple opportunities for creative talent means that when creative talent feels ready for a change—for whatever reason—they have legitimate options right here in our region. They don’t have to relocate to bigger markets to find satisfying and fulfilling work. And this is critical thing in attracting talent to our community. People build families, put their kids in schools, and form important friendships. Having to pack up and move to another city is not easy. It’s complicated and can be both physically and emotionally exhausting, especially for a family with kids.

So the kind of competition we have created in D.C., the kind of competition that fosters the creative excellence that won so many ADDY awards, is good for our industry and healthy for our community. We all love winning for sure, but losing to a local agency is a sign of a vigorous, energetic and successful business community.

So a huge congratulations not only to all the D.C. ADDY winners, but perhaps more importantly, to all the folks out there trying to beat each other every day. We all win when we all win!

Matt Smith is founder of SmithGifford, and has close to 40 years’ experience as a creative and agency leader at the nation’s top agencies.  SmithGifford is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.

You can find Matt Smith’s earlier columns at Oh, That’s Good.

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