There's something about the table tent -- the classic freestanding ad promoting the happy hour specials or that little-known local band -- that speaks to bygone American values. In today's world, as advertisers increasingly abandon physical posters and flyers for digital outreach, the oft-overlooked table tent has come to play David to online advertisers' Goliath.
This year, Minneapolis-based PR agency Colle + McVoy will finally spotlight the best of the nation's brave and underappreciated table tents in the first annual Tenties award show.
The 2015 Tenties will acknowledge winners in 10 categories, including high-circulation tents that have been placed on more than 1,000 tables, "green" tents made entirely of recyclable materials, and social integration tents -- those that include a QR code in their design. The chief judge on the Tenties will be Chuck Porter, chairman of the advertising titan Crispin Porter + Bogusky, who credits table tents with "helping jumpstart his distinguished career."
The winners will be announced at a September 15 ceremony in Las Vegas.
John Neerland, Colle + McVoy creative director, was one of the brains behind the Tenties. He says he's wanted to honor table tents for years because it's simply incredible that an industry with awards for just about any kind of advertising could overlook such a historic vehicle for product promotion.
"We still see the need for tangible advertising," Neerland says. "You still see table tents everywhere. They haven't gone anywhere, even though the world has progressed. Our big thing is, we think table tents can do more than inform. They can really inspire."
Neerland says the role of the table tent is primarily to stand on a table. There may not be many other things to look at while waiting in a restaurant, so a strategically placed table tent has the unique opportunity to captivate customers.
"Just last weekend I was at Culver's, and they had a sort of multi-tab table tent that I probably spent five minutes looking at, just flipping through their various custards and offerings," Neerland says.
Colle + McVoy provides advertising and PR to a range of clients, including Purina and Duluth Trading Company. No one's submitted a nomination for a Tentie-worthy table ad yet, but Neerland chalks that up to it being the first year. It takes a while to get on the radar as a new awards show, he says.
Have you seen a great table tent ad recently? Nominate your favorite at www.thetenties.com.
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