Monday, August 11, 2008

Advertising Award Winner Accused of Fraud

Akron, Ohio—Hasse J. Beckwith, winner of a 1995 Silver Microphone Award, was accused of fraud in connection with the award, it was reported today. The Silver Microphone Awards, which are given to the best local and regional radio commercials produced throughout the nation and created by advertising agencies and audio production companies, announced that Beckwith, shown here at the award's after-after-party, was not of age to participate.

Beckwith won the award for his moving public awareness campaign "Bubble Gum Larceny," a series of child-focused radio spots featuring "Mr. Bubbles," a charismatic gum chewer who urges children to be good and avoid petty crime. Over 40,000 participants, both advertising agencies and production companies nationwide, are considered for the Silver Microphone Awards. A panel of judges, representing all aspects of the broadcast and advertising industry rated each entry. Entries are judged for their creativity, production quality, copywriting, talent and overall effectiveness. Of Beckwith's campaign the judges noted the "childlike approach" and the way Mr. Bubbles "really seemed to ignore standard rules of radio copy and speak directly kid to kid."

Beckwith was gracious at the award gala, keeping his acceptance remarks short. "You're totally cool," he was reported to have said. "And I totally wrote that bubbles thing too."

The controversy began when Silver Microphone's executive director, T. Michael Hershburg, announced that the group had "incontrovertible evidence" that in 1995 Beckwith was in fact a 6year old girl. Hershburg was quick to add that he hoped litigation would not be necessary. "We just want the award back," sources quoted him as saying. "And the money would be nice too." Asked how he came upon this knowledge almost 13 years later, Hershburg declined comment.

Keep tuned to Newsmaker News for updates to this breaking story.

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