The American Advertising Awards Entry Details

Are you getting amped up for submitting to the AAF-Black Hills American Advertising Awards competition this year? We sure are. Now let’s dive in to the nitty-gritty details to guarantee your submission process is as smooth as possible. If you have any questions after reading through the following please shoot us a quick email at and we’ll be happy to help you out.

Eligibility Requirements

First things first, are you eligible?

Professional Requirements

  • All work entered in the American Advertising Awards competition must have first appeared between January 1 and December 31, 2018.
  • With the exceptions of Public Service Advertising and Advertising Industry Self Promotion categories, and student entries, work entered must have been the result of paid creative services and/or media placement in the normal course of business.
  • “Real” Advertising—The expressed intent of the American Advertising Awards competition is to recognize and reward creative excellence in the legitimate everyday workplace of advertising. Occasionally, an entry is submitted that appears to have been created outside the conventional agency-to-client-to-media marketing structure, as if the entry was created solely for the purpose of winning an award. This type of work is not accepted.
  • “New” Creative—To qualify as new creative, the copy must be completely different from that used in any previous ads. The same headline with different body copy does not qualify. Changing dates, locations, times, savings, etc., does not qualify. The illustration or photography can be the same, but the copy (thrust and content) must be new. Some ads present little or no copy. In the instance of no copy (other than time, location, and other basic information data), an ad with a previously used illustration does not qualify. If questionable, the final decision rests with the local, district and ultimately the national American Advertising Awards Committee (N3AC).

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

Student Requirements

  • Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. post-secondary educational institution.
  • All worked entered into the competition must have been created between January 1 and December 21, 2018.
  • Work may be developed specifically for this competition or submitted from previous projects or competitions.
  • Work must be created while entrant is a student not employed in the advertising industry. Student intern work is eligible if it is not used by or paid for by a client. Work developed for paying clients will not be accepted.
  • Recent graduates are eligible to enter as long as the entry was created while the entrant was a student during the 2018 calendar year and the entry meets all other requirements.
Entry Submission

Physical entries

Physical entries must be placed inside an appropriately-sized envelope. The national American Advertising Awards Committee (N3AC) recommends transparent, plastic envelopes found in most office supply stores and catalogs. Manila envelopes may also be used. Please consult with your local club for physical entries as specifications may vary. Mounted entries may be disqualified.

If a transparent plastic envelope is used, insert two copies of the entry form securely inside the envelope behind the physical entry. The entry (creative work) should be facing or readable from one side and the entry form facing or readable from the other. Firmly affix the entry number to the BACK of every piece in the entry (use removable entry number tabs from the bottom of printable entry form).

If a manila envelope is used, spray-mount the entire entry form and attach to the front of the envelope. Insert a second copy of the entry form inside the envelope. Also firmly affix the entry number to the BACK of every piece in the entry (use removable entry number tabs from the bottom of printable entry form).

If a three-dimensional (3-D) item is small enough, it should be placed inside an envelope, as described above. The entry number label should be securely attached to the bottom of the entry. Insert two copies of the entry form inside the envelope. (If the entry is likely to tear the envelope when removing and replacing it, choose the method listed below.)

When a three-dimensional (3-D) item is over-sized and too large to fit inside an envelope, enclose the item inside an appropriately-sized box. Secure the entry number to the top of the box in the upper right hand corner. An entry number label should be affixed to the bottom of the piece for identifying. Spray-mount the entry form to the bottom of the box and place a second copy of the entry form inside the box.

Campaign entries may be handled in the same manner as above, placing the campaign inside an appropriately sized envelope. Firmly affix the entry number to the BACK of every piece in the entry (use removable entry number tabs from the bottom of printable entry form). Indicate on each label “1 of 2” or “2 of 2,” etc. Include an extra copy of the entry form inside the envelope.

All components of Campaign and Integrated Campaign entries must be entered together in an appropriately sized envelope whenever possible. Firmly affix the entry number to the BACK of every piece in the entry (use removable entry number tabs from the bottom of printable entry form). Label each component with an entry number and include the total components for each campaign, (1 of 10, 2 of 10, 3 of 10, etc.).

Submission of Digital Entries

Digital entries in the Professional Division of the American Advertising Awards are described as follows:

  • Entries in all Online/Interactive categories (#37–47 and 75)
  • Entries in all Film, Video & Sound categories (#48–71)
  • Entries in select Elements of Advertising categories (#85–98)

Entry submission in these categories may be made entirely online, including submission of creative assets either via digital file uploads or submission of URLs for judging (carefully follow the submission instructions during the online entry process).

Completion of the entry process FOR THESE CATEGORIES ONLY requires only the online portion of the process—no physical work samples or entry forms are required for submission. However, for ALL OTHER CATEGORIES, a physical entry form and physical samples of the creative work suitable for judging must be submitted as part of the entry.

Online/Interactive Advertising

For Websites and all Online/Interactive entries submit the URL addresses. For multiple URLs in a campaign category entry, create a webpage that contains each of the individual links and provide the single URL to your newly created page, i.e.-

Do not submit a URL that leads directly to a “swf” file. Judging of online entries will be done online, using the URL whenever possible. URLs should not require any username or password for access. In cases where this already exists, the entrant should create an independent URL. URLs, banners and menus must not contain any references to the entrant.

Submission of Entries

Physical submissions are REQUIRED for all entries in the following divisions:
Sales & Marketing, Print Advertising, Out-of Home & Ambient Media, Cross Platform and Categories 79-84 of Elements of Advertising. This includes submission of a physical copy of the creative work—SUITABLE FOR IN-PERSON JUDGING and two printed copies of the entry form. Failure to comply with these guidelines could result in disqualification. Entries and entry fees should be sent to the address indicated by your local Ad Club competition. All entries become the property of your local Ad Club, district, or the AAF and will not be returned. Do NOT send original or irreplaceable artwork. It will NOT be returned.

For full eligibility and submission requirements please view the professional rules and categories or student rules and categories documents. If you have further questions email us at

Happy submitting, and best of luck!

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