Edited NTRA releaseThe National Thoroughbred Racing Association's co-op radio advertising campaign won a Gold Lion Award at this past week's 52nd International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France. The award is one of the highest honors handed out at the international awards competition. The NTRA campaign, produced by the New York advertising agency DeVito/Verdi, defeated entries from around the world, including major marketers and brands like Miller Lite, Budweiser, Absolut, Virgin Atlantic, Air France and Sony PlayStation. The NTRA campaign, entitled "And They're Off," features a race announcer calling the proceedings of everyday leisure events with the same brio as he would a horse race. "It's very gratifying to be recognized with one of the most prestigious awards in the field of advertising," said Keith Chamblin, NTRA senior vice president marketing and industry relations. "It's equally gratifying to know that the campaign is being utilized by more than 30 member associations across the country including member race tracks in major media markets such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York and that it continues to resonate with horse racing's target customer."The Gold Lion is just the latest industry accolade collected by the NTRA campaign. Since debuting three years ago, the NTRA commercials have received much critical acclaim. Its awards have included a National Addy Best of Show (defeating more than 60,000 radio and television commercial submissions), three Gold Addys, the $100,000 grand prize at the Radio Mercury Awards honoring the nation's top radio advertisement, three One Show Gold Pencils, a Gold medal from the Art Director's Club, and the Grand Award for Best Radio Campaign at the New York Festivals. The campaign also was named "Best of the Best" by the National Retail Federation's Retail Advertising Conference (RAC) and was honored by the Sports Marketing Association as the top sports broadcast advertisement in 2004. "This campaign has a long way to go before being put out to pasture. It just gets stronger year after year," said Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi. "The campaign has had a remarkable run, and has proven to be highly effective as the racing industry continues to attract a younger audience to the sport." The individual radio spots that comprise the campaign include "Grandma," "Karaoke," "Shakespeare," "Tango Lessons," and "Yoga." The Radio Lions jury selected a total of eight spots from DeVito/Verdi to shortlist, the second most for any U.S. advertising agency.