Critics Laud I-Shops at 2001 Clios

San Francisco-based Freestyle Interactive was the big winner at this year’s Clio awards, taking home three statues for its banner ad work earlier this year for Hewlett-Packard.

Freestyle’s work for HP, which continued Goodby, Silverstein & Partners’ offline “Invent” campaign, won a gold Clio in the “Banner Ads 15k And Under” category, and a silver in both the “Fresh Approach” and “Internet Rich Media Advertising” categories.

It’s the 42nd year of the awards, which only began recognizing interactive media since 1999. This year’s winners received their statues at a luncheon during a week-long award festival in Miami Beach, Fla.

In addition to San Francisco-based Freestyle’s win, four other interactive teams brought home the gold during the week.

Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Thunderhouse, which is affiliated with Alley-based Zentropy Partners, landed a gold in the “Fresh Approach” category for work for The Laramara Foundation for the Blind.

Vancouver, Canada’s Blast Radius took home a gold for work in the “Brand Building” category, for its “World Body” site design for Nike.

Two other golds were awarded in “Brand Building” as well, to London-based Deepend and Singapore’s Kinetic Interactive. (Gold Clios are awarded in highly competitive categories; more than one can be awarded in each category, while smaller categories are eligible only for silvers and bronzes.) Deepend’s Sydney, Australia office received a gold for its work on a site for Siemens’ SL45 Mobile Phone, with Kinetic taking home a statue for its site design for Aamer Taher Design Studio.

Besides Freestyle, other interactive shops faring well include Stockholm-based Starlet Deluxe, which took home two bronzes for Nerd Olympics (in “Fresh Approach” and “Rich Media”) and a third for Popwire.com, in the rich media category.

Other multiple winners were London-based I-D Media’s — whose work for Wallpaper took home a silver in the “Brand Building” category, and a bronze in “Consumer-Targeted Site” — and Brazil’s AgenciaClick, which received a silver for its rich media work for the Sao Paulo Eye Bank, and a bronze for its Banco Itau direct response campaign, “Rudi”.

Additionally, the interactive unit of Boston’s Arnold Worldwide, which designed the “Auto Show 2001” portion of Volkswagen’s corporate Web site for a silver, also received a bronze for its effort on a site for the VW microbus.

Like Arnold, Columbus, Ohio’s Resource Marketing received a silver for work on Sony’s Emarker in the “Brand Building” category, as did Hamburg, Germany’s Elephant Seven, for its Montblanc International site. Barcelona’s DoubleYou’s Women’s Secret campaign, and self-promotional work from Wiesbaden, Germany’s Scholz & Volkmer, both received silvers as well.

Silicon Alley’s Ego Media and Fusebox both snagged bronzes for their self-promotional Web work, as did Rockville, Md.’s Vir2L Studios.

In the “Consumer-Targeted Site” category, bronzes went to Impiric, and Minneapolis interactive shop Periscope. Impiric’s London office created a site for the Ericsson T20, while Periscope nabbed a bronze for its “Dayton’s Challenge” golf tournament site.

In all, some 25 awards were handed out. However, the awards’ 30-person jury — which included Lot21’s Kate Everett-Thorp, kpe’s Mark Patricof and Rare Medium’s Glenn Meyers — declined to award a Grand Clio, citing the lack of sizable innovations in the field.

Last year, Arnold won the Grand Clio for its Volkswagen work.

Nevertheless, jury chairman James Hilton, of London-based AKQA, did commend the entrants for their effort in moving the interactive advertising industry away from “gimmicks and irrelevant technologies” — which he said is often mistaken for “communications and real ideas.”

“The standard of work entered at Clio is rising year by year,” he said. “This can only be a good thing for the industry and the customers who use these sites. I am especially delighted to see a great deal more depth of thought and innovation being applied to this medium … So often, it appears these are sacrificed in the name of ‘cool design.'”

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