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NTRA Radio Campaign Inducted into Clio HOF

Campaign first aired in 2002.

A radio campaign created by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has been inducted into the Clio Awards Hall of Fame, one of the most prestigious distinctions in the advertising business. The NTRA campaign, entitled, "And They're Off," was produced by the New York city-based agency DeVito/Verdi and first aired in 2002. 

The Clio Awards recognize and honor creativity and innovation. The organization's judges honored two specific ads within the NTRA "And They're Off" campaign. The commercials that comprised the NTRA campaign all followed a similar approach: a fast-talking announcer provides running play-by-play of an everyday outing or happening with the same brio as if he were calling an action-packed horse race. Invariably, all of these events fall short of the excitement and thrill of visiting a Thoroughbred racetrack. The spots ended with a 15-second tagable bed for tracks to localize the messages. 

The two spots from the campaign that earned entry to the Clio Awards Hall of Fame were "Dinner Date" and "Walk the Dog." 

"This campaign communicated the special allure of horseracing in a unique and humorous way that resonated with listeners in media markets all across the country, from New York to Seattle and Los Angeles to Miami," said NTRA Chief Operating Officer Keith Chamblin, who was the organization's senior vice president of marketing at the time the ads were created. "Much of the credit must go to DeVito/Verdi, which presented the creative to us with live reads in true racetrack announcer-style way back in 2002. They had us at, 'And they're off.'" 

The NTRA radio spots, which were inducted into this year's Clio Hall of Fame along with the short film, "Zack," follow on the heels of two familiar television advertising campaigns inducted into the Clio Hall of Fame in 2016 - the "Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign for Dos Equis that first aired in 2006 and the SNICKERS "You're Not You When You're Hungry" ads featuring Betty White and the late Abe Vigoda that premiered during the 2010 Super Bowl.

To be eligible for the Clio Awards Hall of Fame, entries must have won a gold award in a major international advertising show in the past. The entries must also be at least five years old, with a first appearance or airing prior to 2012. The "And They're Off" campaign has garnered scores of national and international advertising and creativity awards, including the top prizes at Cannes Lions International Festival (2005, 2006, 2008), the London International Awards (2002, 2004), Clios (2005, 2006, 2017), national Addy's (2004, 2007) and Radio Mercury Award honoring the nation's top radio spot (2003, 2006).

According to the Clio Awards, Hall of Fame selections are for "outstanding work from the past that has stood the test of time and cemented a place of honor and respect in the hearts and memories of consumers and advertising professionals alike." 

"We knew right from the gate that this campaign would be a winner," said Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi. "And it's an absolute thrill to see it recognized by the Clios for its Hall of Fame. This is one of the most acclaimed and award-winning radio ad campaigns in history. We're so proud it's been given its due." 

To hear additional radio ads from the campaign, visit https://www.devitoverdi.com/portfolio/ntra

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