American Advertising Awards FAQs

2021 American Advertising Awards in Kansas City

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What are the American Advertising Awards?

The American Advertising Awards is the largest and most representative advertising competition. Each year, it attracts more than 40,000 entries in local American Advertising Federation (AAF) competitions, including KC Ad Club.

The competition includes both professional and student work, recognizing and rewarding creative excellence in the art of advertising.

What awards can you win?

Work submitted to the American Advertising Awards can receive the following types of awards:


  • JUDGE'S CITATION: Advertising work recognized by one of the judges of the competition, highlighting features that lead toward great advertising.

  • SILVER: Advertising work considered outstanding and worthy of recognition at the local competition.

  • GOLD: Advertising work recognized as the highest level of creative excellence and judged superior to all other entries in its category.

  • BEST OF ______: Advertising work recognized by the judges, highlighting features they like best. These three awards are subjective and can be awarded to work submitted in any category of the competition.

  • BEST OF SHOW: Advertising work ranked above and beyond any other entries within the local competition. It is awarded at the end of the show, similarly to the Best Picture award at the Oscars.

How many awards are given out?

There is no set number of awards given each year. The judges determine the number of awards given in each category based on the relative quality of work in that category. That means the creative work submitted by the advertisers of Kansas City determines the competitiveness of the awards. And that’s why you should submit your work — to push the awards to be even more representative of the awesome creative being produced right here in the Midwest.

What happens after the local competition?

The local American Advertising Awards is the first phase of the three-tier competition where agencies, freelancers and students can be recognized as the best in their markets. Local Gold American Advertising Awards winners move on to compete against winners from other local clubs in one of 15 district competitions. AAF-KC winners compete in the AAF District 9 competition — which includes work from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska — held in March every year. In 2019, the AAF District 9 competition will be in St. Louis.

If you win at the AAF District 9 American Advertising Awards, your work will move on to the AAF National competition held at ADMERICA every year. Entering your work at the local level is your first step toward winning a National American Advertising Award and being recognized among advertising legends.

What do the American Advertising Awards support?

AAF uses all proceeds from the American Advertising Awards to support the entire advertising industry at the national, district and local levels. That’s how AAF is able to enhance the advertising produced in Kansas City and other markets through programs, including public service, internships, advocacy groups, advertising education, and consumer awareness.

What are the Student American Advertising Awards?

The student competition of the American Advertising Awards is sponsored by AAF and Ad 2 National. As a unique national awards program, the Student American Advertising Awards is designed to showcase the incredible work being created by students as part of their educational coursework.

Students are eligible to enter work if they meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants must be enrolled full- or part-time in an accredited U.S. educational institution.

  • Student interns are eligible to enter, meaning any work that was created during your internship and is approved to be entered by your manager may be entered.

  • Submitted work can be developed specifically for this competition or from previous projects or student contests; however, work must be created while the entrant is a student and not employed in the advertising industry.

Student work that wins at the local level can move up to the regional and national levels, just like the work entered by professionals across the country.

*Copyright infringement and/or plagiarism (be it intentional or unintentional) will result in the disqualification and, if applicable, awards will be removed from any entry deemed in violation. All entry fees will be forfeited.

What do national student winners receive?

Student work that wins at the local, district and national levels receive the following:

  • Finalist certificate — great for résumés and portfolios.

  • Prestigious Student American Advertising Award for first-place winners.

  • $1,000 cash prize for National Best of Show winner.

At the local level, students receive a Student American Advertising Award for first-place work. Simply entering your work and attending the awards show also gets your name and work in front of many Kansas City advertising professionals. Remember, networking is one of the best ways to get a job and foster the growth of your career.