Doe-Anderson's team at the 2015 Effie Awards. Image from Doe-Anderson.

Doe-Anderson’s team at the 2015 Effie Awards. Image from Doe-Anderson.

Louisville advertising firm Doe-Anderson just scored a big win. On Thursday, the agency earned a gold 2015 North American”Effie” award, one of the most prestigious honors in the advertising world.

Doe-Anderson won in the “government, institutional, and recruitment” category, for the work it did for Kynect, Kentucky’s health benefit exchange.

Effie awards recognize the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. To win an Effie a firm must prove a given campaign’s actual, measurable impact, when compared to its stated objectives.

Doe-Anderson first learned it won an Effie award in late May, though it didn’t find out what actual award it won until the ceremony, which was in New York City. Doe-Anderson was the only Kentucky firm to win an Effie this year.

“While winning an Effie in itself is a huge accomplishment, the awards are tiered — Gold, Silver and Bronze — meaning we happened to take home a top award,” said Joanna Clark, copywriter at Doe-Anderson.

This is Doe-Anderson’s second Effie win. In 2003, it took home a bronze award for the “Stories” ad campaign it created for Maker’s Mark Distillery.

As mentioned, Effie awards measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign; Doe-Anderson’s work helped make Kynect a success — enrollment figures were triple the national average, and Kentucky achieved the second-largest drop in the rate of uninsured residents in the U.S.

“The success of the Kynect campaign was in separating the service — accessible, affordable healthcare ­— from the complicated and often controversial political rhetoric,” Doe-Anderson CEO and President Todd Spencer told Insider Louisville. “We simplified the messaging in a compelling way, a friendly way, and people responded.”

Louisville advertising industry players said Doe-Anderson’s win is a big deal.

“Effies are really hard to get,” said Dan Barbercheck, head of Red7e. “Doe-Anderson should not just be proud of the success of their marketing efforts, but proud of the cause they have championed — access to health care for all.”

Mike Nickerson, chief marketing officer at Louisville ad firm PriceWeber, said Effies have sometimes been overlooked. “For many agencies, ‘effectiveness’ isn’t as sexy as, say winning a Lion at Cannes,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, we all like Gold Lions, but when you can decisively succeed in helping your clients achieve a goal, especially when it’s something like what Doe did, that’s really something to be proud of.”

Nickerson added that while Effies used to get meh reactions from agencies, now he believes it is perhaps the most important award in advertising. “After all, if your ad didn’t work, who cares if it was pretty?”