June 10, 2008 (HOUSTON)…Houston creative and production studio 808 inc. edged out  three other groups that submitted advertising campaigns as part of a competition sponsored by Only in Houston to showcase the local communications industry among businesses that send their advertising and marketing dollars to other markets.

A panel of accomplished communications industry judges evaluated campaigns submitted by some of Houston’s top agency and design teams, including 808 inc., Lopez Negrete, Acumen Design, and Dog House Creative, who all responded to the call for entries and to the opportunity to help promote Houston’s creative community.

“This contest resulted in an incredible portfolio of work produced by some of Houston’s top creative talent,” said Ann Iverson, chairwoman of the Only in Houston Board of Directors. “All of these teams donated their time and talent to help support and promote the Houston communications industry and the resulting campaigns were a testament to the strength of the local creative market.”

The humorous storylines of 808inc.’s winning campaign, titled “Steve,” revolves around an expensive advertising consultant from New York, in the form of a mannequin, brought in by a Houston company to help revive the brand. The television spots lampoon the process of choosing an out-of-town agency without consideration of Houston creative talent and resources, closing with “If your advertising isn’t from here, it’s from somewhere else. And that’s not quite right. Keep it real. Keep it here. Only in Houston.” The billboard concepts rely on a viral marketing strategy that features Steve the mannequin and directs audiences to “see the lurid story at OnlyInHouston.org.”

“As a city, we need to get back to a place that pushes creative limits,” said Robert Campbell, partner with 808 inc. “What I find encouraging, and I’ve seen this from many of the agencies we work with, is that we are asking more of ourselves and of our product. Houston is a huge and growing city with tons of creative firepower. And OiH has really spearheaded the effort to get that secret out. We are honored to participate in this collective endeavor.”
One of the judges wrote, “The theory that you can get excellent advertising in Houston instead of just saying it really works. I can hear marketing people quoting it: ‘He’s an expensive New York advertising consultant – from New York!’”

Another said, “I can’t help it, this campaign still makes me laugh out loud.” And, “…it sure will get the attention of marketing people, which is what you are trying to do.”

The OiH board launched the competition to convince top executives and advertising decision makers to keep advertising, marketing, and communications business in Houston, as part of the organization’s mission:

“To promote the creative forces found within the city of Houston through programs and cooperation among advertising, marketing, communications and production entities.”

“808inc. came up with a uniquely powerful campaign concept that offers so many advertising, marketing, and promotional opportunities and that will benefit the entire Houston communications industry,” said Iverson. “And we believe that it makes a strong case, in a fun way, for big and small companies alike to consider using Houston creative talent and resources before automatically sending their work to big, out of town agencies.”

The campaign will be honed and produced in coming months and start running in Houston, and then may be introduced in other regional markets in the future. OiH plans to build the campaign to also include radio, print, direct marketing, and Web channels in the future.