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March 11--  The Vidalia Onion Committee has taken top awards for its efforts to promote Georgia's official vegetable in 2010.  

America’s favorite sweet onion, the Vidalia® onion, continues to “bring home the hardware,” earning both MAX and ADDY Awards in the last two weeks. These marketing and advertising awards are in recognition of last year’s industry-shaking Shrek “Ogres & Onions” promotion.

The MAX Awards (Marketing Awards for Excellence), given each year to only three Georgia-based companies, are based on innovation, marketing and successful results. These awards, which have been in existence since 1992, have recognized companies such as Coca-Cola, Georgia-Pacific and Web MD in the past.

{mosimage}Wendy Brannen, executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC), and Steve Langston, president of Langston Communications, Inc., received the MAX Award for the “Ogres & Onions” campaign at a ceremony held Feb. 25 at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, attended by 500 marketing professionals.

“It was a shock to win! But the campaign was a huge success in terms of sales, publicity and brand-building, so we did earn our place. To be recognized alongside outstanding Georgia companies whose brands I’ve respected my entire life is quite an honor,” said Brannen.

The Vidalia Onion Committee was also honored March 5 in Savannah, Ga., with three ADDY® (American Advertising Federation) Awards, including two gold ADDYs and one silver ADDY.  Brannen explained the awards saying, “The ADDY Awards are based solely on advertising materials and not program results, so these awards make me so proud to work with our Vidalia creative and graphics team.”  In addition to the VOC, Heidi McIntyre of McIntyre Marketing, Steve Langston of Langston Communications, Rick Kilby of Kilby Creative, and Anthony Wilkes of Giro Pack were recognized in the ADDY Awards.

The Vidalia Onion Committee won Gold ADDY Awards for two categories, “Sales Promotion (Overall Campaign)” and “Online Games,” while it won a Silver ADDY Award for “Consumer Materials (Overall Campaign),”the highest award given in that category.  In the two Gold ADDY Award categories, the Vidalia Onion Committee will now move on to a regional U.S. ADDY competition.

The Vidalia Onion/Shrek campaign generated incredible publicity last year, including features in the Wall Street Journal, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, and Fox Business, among other media outlets. The campaign was especially cited for how it generated excitement among kids about Vidalia onions. Previously, the Vidalia onion/Shrek campaign received Produce Business magazine’s Marketing Excellence Award and was a finalist for the Produce Marketing Association’s Impact Award for packaging.

The Vidalia Onion Committee is following last year’s DreamWorks Animation partnership with a country music promotional tie-in with Universal Music, the world’s largest music company. Recognizable country music artists such as Vince Gill and Billy Currington will be featured on upcoming Vidalia onion promotional materials. “Country Music and Vidalia onions are both proud products of the South that are enjoyed by folks from all over the country, so it was a natural fit,” said Tom Lord, vice president of marketing for Universal Music Group Nashville. This program will kick off in May 2011.