Marketers from all over Western New York attended the 2014 Pinnacle Awards featuring the Marketer of the Year on May 22, 2014.
Marketers from across Western New York attended the 2014 Pinnacle Awards featuring the Marketer of the Year on May 22, 2014.

ROCHESTER, NY, May 22, 2014 — Local area business professionals gathered at the Harro East Ballroom in Rochester on Thursday, May 22, 2014 to celebrate Rochester’s most effective and creative marketing initiatives with the Rochester Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA|Rochester). The winners were announced for the 2014 Pinnacle Awards and the 2014 Marketer of the Year Awards. Award-winning communications professional Andrea Holland and her sister Norma Holland, an anchor and reporter for 13WHAM News This Morning, served as the event emcees.

Rochester area companies and non-profit organizations were recognized for excellence in marketing tactics and campaigns with clear objectives, strong strategies, effective and creative implementation, and results. The awards categories included Integrated Marketing Campaign, Special Event, Blog, Direct Mail, Interactive/Mobile Marketing, Social Media Initiative, Website, and more. The overall 2014 Marketer of the Year award was presented to two organizations (one for-profit and one non-profit) to the organizations that received the highest overall scores on their campaign entries. “On behalf of the local AMA Rochester Chapter, congratulations to all of the nominees and winners,” said Thomas Agnello, AMA|Rochester President. “We are certainly blessed in this community to have so many talented marketing professionals who look to their AMA membership as a means to sharpen their skills and stay abreast of the latest trends in our industry.”   

This year, a wide range of businesses, non-profit organizations, and agencies were recognized as finalists for the Pinnacle Awards and the Marketer of the Year award: Atomic Design, Butler/Till, Carestream Health, Clark CSM, Dixon Schwabl, Dumbwaiter Design, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, General Code, Greece Chamber of Commerce, K2 Communications, Martino Flynn, Partners + Napier, Paychex, RIT, Roberts Communications, Saunders College of Business at RIT, Truth Collective, The United Way, Vamos Public Relations, The Verdi Group, Xerox, and Zimmet Group.

The Marketer of the Year Winners

Marketer of the Year, For-Profit

The Verdi Group

An effective campaign meets its goals and objectives. So what’s a campaign that explodes past its goals do? It wins 2014 Marketer of the Year.

Every year, The Verdi Group — a small, Rochester-based marketing agency — holds its Beaujolais Nouveau Partee as a way to celebrate with clients, friends, and family. The 2013 Verdi Beaujolais Nouveau Partee was the 17th annual event. The Verdi Group set goals around several categories, including invitation response rate (20%), “audience participation” in the form of a song contest, and audience enjoyment. Thanks to an eye-catching, showpiece invitation and some engagement activity before and during the party, The Verdi Group actually garnered a 45% response rate, 19 song entries, and two regenerated client relationships!  While the judges loved the creative tactics and commented that they were “So innovative!,” the judges were most impressed by the carefully established objectives, the metrics, and, of course, the results.

Marketer of the Year, Non-Profit

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

What happens when a campaign turns a topic that most people find boring and confusing into something that’s relevant and accessible? The results speak for themselves.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield — along with agencies Partners + Napier and Butler/Till — focused on connecting with consumers at a less functional, more personal and emotional level for this winning branding campaign. The creative for their “Life Has A Plan” branding campaign depicts moments in people’s lives that evoke emotions and are, in many cases, related to health and health care. The integrated program included TV, print, outdoor, direct mail, and online elements. All communicated variations of a common theme, and drew from shared visual and copy assets.

This led to increased brand awareness, ad awareness, and customer engagement — stats that were not lost on our results-oriented judges. The judges were moved by the creative, adding that the materials had “a real-world, emotional pull.”

The 2014 AMA|Rochester Pinnacle Awards


For-Profit Campaigns

Branding Campaign

Winner: Carestream Health
Entry: Rebranding Carestream Social Properties

Business to Business Communications

Winner: Xerox
Entry: Get Optimistic

Honorable Mention: The Verdi Group and Skillsoft

Integrated Marketing Campaign

Winner:  Xerox
Entry:  Connect Key

Honorable Mention: Partners + Napier and Galbani

Small Budget Campaign

Winner:  Vamos Public Relations
Entry:  Irving 4 Judge

New Product or Service Launch

Winner:  The Verdi Group and Carestream
Entry:  Carestream DRX2530C Launch

Honorable mention: Clark CSM and Black Button Distilling

Special Event

Winner:  The Verdi Group
Entry: “The Verdi Beaujolais Nouveau Partee”

For-Profit TACTICS

Advertising (Print)

Winner:  Carestream Health
Entry:  Carestream Global Corporate Calendar

Advertising (Online)

Winner:  Carestream Health

Entry:  US&C X-ray Solutions


Winner:  Carestream Health
Entry:  “Everything Rad Blog”


Winner:  Martino Flynn and W.F. Young
Entry:  “Absorbine Dealer Catalog”

Direct Mail/Direct Response

Co-winner:  The Verdi Group and Profit Strategies (Coolfront)
Entry: Coolfront Distributor Mailing

Co-winner: Roberts Communications & Xerox
Entry: Xerox iGen Truth

Logo Design

Winner:  Truth Collective and Smarter Travel
Entry:  Smarter Travel Logo


Winner:  Paychex 
Entry:  (k)Index


Winner:  Martino Flynn and Golf Galaxy
Entry:  Golf Galaxy Photography

Print Piece/Packaging

Winner:  The Verdi Group
Entry:  Verdi Beaujolais Nouveau Partee Invitation

Social Media Initiative

Winner:  Carestream Health
Entry:  Carestream Social Media Initiative

Trade Show Promotion

Winner:  Carestream Health
Entry:  RSNA Promotion

Video/Audio Spot

Winner: Truth Collective and SMART Technologies
Entry: SMARTamp

Honorable Mention: Martino Flynn and Met Life


Co-winner:  Dumbwaiter Design and Klein Steel
Entry:  Klein Steel Site

Co-winner: Clark CSM and Bristol Mountain
Entry: Learn to Ski Website

Honorable Mention: Roberts Communication and Health Integrated

NON-Profit Campaigns

Branding Campaign, Non-Profit

Winner: Partners + Napier & Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Entry: Life Has a Plan

Business-to-Consumer Communications

Winner: Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Entry: Turning 65 Program

Integrated Marketing Campaign

Winner:  Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Partners + Napier, and Butler/Till
Entry:  Life Has a Plan

Small Budget Campaign

Winner:  Zimmet Group and Allendale Columbia
Entry:  Cure for the Common Core

New Product or Service Launch

Winner:  Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Entry:  Reaching Our New Consumer Market

Special Event

Winner:  Truth Collective and Ad Council of Rochester
Entry: Ad Council RISE



Winner:  Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Entry:  Health Care Exchange Guidebook

Direct Response

Winner:  United Way of Greater Rochester
Entry:  Living United

Online/Interactive Marketing

Winner: Butler/Till & Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Entry:  Digital Media Plan

Honorable Mention: Dumbwaiter Design and RIT  


Winner: Partners + Napier & Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Entry:  Life Has A Plan

Print Piece/Packaging

Winner:  Dixon Schwabl and Wilmot Cancer Center
Entry: 2013 Discovery Ball

Honorable Mention: Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

Social Media Initiative

Winner:  Dixon Schwabl and the PGA Championship
Entry:  PGA Championship Social Media Campaign

Video/Audio Spot

Co-winner: Partners + Napier & Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Entry:  Life Has A Plan

Co-winner: Greece Chamber of Commerce
Entry: Taste of the Town

Honorable Mention: Dixon Schwabl and the American Lung Association


Winner:  Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Entry:  Life Has A Plan

The event was sponsored by the Rochester Business Journal (Title Sponsor), Simon School of Business (Presenting Sponsor), MNI (Sponsor), and Partners + Napier (Creative Sponsor).  Companies providing in-kind support included: Kurt Brownell, Perinton Publishing, MNI, Scotland Yard, Signs Now, Bob Wright Creative, Brand Cool, Canfield & Tack, City Blue Imaging, Cut-It-Out! Cookies, PRism Services, The Otter Lodge, and Cohber.

The panel of judges was comprised of senior marketing professionals from the Philadelphia chapter of the American Marketing Association. With more than a combined 185 years in marketing — including experience in financial services, manufacturing, technology, health care, pharmaceutical, non-profits, and full-service advertising agencies — they brought a wealth of impartial expertise to the competition.

About AMA|Rochester

The American Marketing Association is an international professional society of individual members with an interest in the practice, study, and teaching of marketing. The Rochester, N.Y., chapter of the American Marketing Association was founded in 1950. AMA|Rochester is the premier organization for marketing, education, programming, and networking among marketing professionals in the Western New York region. For more information, visit

This article originally appeared in the Rochester Business Journal on Friday, May 23, 2014. Read the original article here.