- Associated Press - Saturday, April 18, 2015

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - “The Keys to Richmond,” a guidebook produced by Richmond Magazine, was chosen as “best of the best” in the Virginia Press Association’s annual advertising contest. The award was presented Saturday in Roanoke.

The “best of the best” award is at the top of VPA’s advertising awards. It is given to the first-place-winning entry that is deemed superior to all other first places selected from among 1,278 entries in this year’s contest.

“The Keys to Richmond” was an entry in the slick products category for specialty publications. The judges, from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, described the work as “Interesting to read and look at. Excellent quality… Clean, easy-to-look-at design.”

Before the final round of judging, Richmond Magazine’s entry had been chosen as the best from among all hard-copy entries from specialty publications.

Best-in-show winners were selected for in-paper ads in each of the contest’s competition groups. These were the winners of those awards:

Small daily publications: Feletia Sharples and Michelle Burdette, Northern Virginia Daily, Strasburg, for “Score,” an ad for Miller Auto. The judges said, “Not just another auto ad. This piece showed great creativity.”

Medium daily publications: Jane Henshaw and Amy VanHook, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, for “Crabfest,” an ad for Potomac Winery. The judges said, “Clean and clever design with eye-catching artwork. Good use of white space with uncluttered typesetting.”

Large daily publications: Cathy Wall, Patrice Byrd and the design staff, the Daily Press, Newport News, for “Respect all. Fear none,” an ad for the Hampton University football program. The judges wrote, “Irresistible offer, well displayed. Social media tags are used.”

Specialty publications: Joel Smith, Style Weekly, for “Saint Patty Days,” an ad promoting RVA Burger Week.

Small non-daily publications: Cindi Banach and Linda York, The Warren Sentinel, Front Royal, for a campaign for Springtime Garden Center.

Medium non-daily publications: Jeff Martin and Scott Matthew, the Courier Record, Blackstone, for “Burger Night,” an ad for Blackstone Herb Cottage. The judges said, “Great photography and display. All we wanted to do was go there. Now.”

Large non-daily publications: April Coleman, Richmond Free Press, for “Academic Excellence,” an ad for Virginia Union University. The judges wrote, “Great visual. Nice use of color.”

Best-in-show awards also are given for special products, such as promotions, special sections and inserts. Those winners were:

Daily publications, all sizes: Travis Wolfrey and the advertising staff, The Progress-Index, Petersburg, for “Sports Fingers,” an ad promoting the newspaper’s mobile sports app.

Specialty publications: Richmond Magazine, “The Keys to Richmond.”

Non-daily publications, all sizes: Kathy Sturgeon and Melissa Orendorff, The Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg, for “Suite Tooth,” an ad promoting the newspaper’s classified section. The judges wrote, “We liked the creativity and photography in the copy. Very creative and clean.”

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