James Edmund Datri, president and CEO of The American Advertising Federation (AAF) presented AAF Tenth District’s highest honor of leadership and innovation in advertising to Southwest Airlines and its portfolio of agencies on May 12 in Austin. Dave Ridley, senior vice president, Marketing and Revenue Management for Southwest Airlines, accepted the award at a special dinner at GSD&M Idea City.

The Innovation and Leadership in Advertising Award (ILA) recognizes Southwest Airlines and its agencies for many years of inventive advertising programs. This is the fourth year AAF has hosted the ILA Award that highlights companies that exemplify excellence in Media Use, Employment in AAF District Ten, Diversity and Creative Leadership.

In accepting the award, Ridley said, “Wow, to follow behind AT&T, JC Penney and Walmart!  What an honor! On behalf of Southwest Airlines, we’re honored to be recognized tonight from the American Advertising Federation 10th District for this very prestigious award.  We could not have made this journey here without all of agencies and partners who have helped made this possible. “ 

Southwest Airlines’ partner advertising agencies that shared in the award included: GSD&M Idea City – Austin; Camelot Communications, Inc. – Dallas; Y&R Brands/Wunderman Southern California – Irvine, Dieste, Inc. – Dallas; and Dae Advertising – San Francisco.

Kevin Cassis, president of the Austin Ad Federation, kicked off award ceremonies. In welcoming more than 225 guests and congratulating Southwest Airlines, Cassis said, “We’re so pleased that the ILA event was held in Austin, a world class creative center. Competing against cities like New York and Chicago, the Austin Ad Fed will be recognized as the Division One AAF Club of the Year at the national AAF convention in June.”

Southwest Airlines’ Dana Williams, director of Marketing and Communications, also presented a fall internship for an ILA Scholarship recipient. The internship winner, Erin Landy, a University of Texas Advertising major graduating in 2011, will receive a $5,000 scholarship from the AAF Tenth District.

Said Datri, “It was an honor to be a part of this year’s ILA ceremonies – by all accounts the very best yet!  A great brand (Southwest), a great spot (GSD&M Idea City), great food, great energy, a great and distinguished crowd, and a host of top-notch sponsors made the event a huge success.  Bravo and congratulations to Ann Iverson – ILA Committee Chair; John Aguillard – ILA Committee  Co-Chair; Governor Goldston; Executive Director Kevin Dobbs; and the AAF Tenth District Leadership for a wonderful and successful event. The Tenth District Shines Bright!”

Event sponsors included: VISA, BET Networks, Coca-Cola, 4 Guys Interactive, Gannett Digital Media Network, Microsoft Advertising, VML and The Wyndham Hotel Group. In-kind sponsors included: Clampitt Paper, GSD&M Idea City and The Whitley Printing Company, all of Austin.

Author: Jay Hagins
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