Unleash Greatness

Seeing Silver: Crafted Founder and Partner Wins Charlotte’s 2023 AAF Silver Medal Award

By Julia Funderburk

And the award goes to…

Rob Hawse, winner of the the AFF Silver Metal Award

Last night was intimate, opportunistic and competitive. In a small venue with no more than 200 attendees, the lights were low and the hopes to be rewarded and recognized by peers at Charlotte’s American Advertising Awards ceremony were high. Coveted trophies for the taking were inviting and exclusive all at once. Old friends shook hands and then embraced as quiet ‘hellos’ and ‘nice to see yous’ quickly turned into lively anecdotes and sincere conversations. Some attendees hadn’t seen each other since last year and cherished the occasion to reconnect.

Hosted by American Advertising Federation (AAF) Charlotte, this awards ceremony judges the work of Charlotte advertising creatives as the local phase of a 3-tier (local, district and national) competition. Entries within the categories “Sales & Marketing,” “Print Advertising” and “Film, Video & Sound,” amongst others, are adjudicated by a panel of accomplished advertising professionals for Gold and/or Silver honors.

Each year, the American Advertising Awards are put on entirely by a group of dedicated and talented volunteers. Consistently a success, the show—at each of the three levels—celebrates the advertising industry and always acts as a catalyst that inspires meaningful work. As we extend our thanks to the devoted volunteers and our congratulations to this year’s winners for their well-deserved distinctions and perfectly executed creativity, our applause remains especially loud and heartfelt for one individual’s prestigious achievement at the ceremony.

Crafted is extraordinarily pleased to recognize our Founder and Partner, Rob Hawse, as this year’s AAF Charlotte Silver Medal Award winner.

At his core, Rob is a builder and a dreamer. He strengthened his values and artistry at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he gained momentum and purpose and set new goals. With the inception and founding of Hawse Design in 1994, Rob worked with high-profile clients, including the NBA, Hard Rock Café, Nickelodeon, the Houston Rockets, National Gypsum and Okuma America. After years of growth and success, Rob rebranded as Crafted in 2013 to better reflect his agency’s new direction of focusing solely on manufacturing.

Manufacturing has always been the perfect fit for Rob. He has an appreciation and love for how things are made and why they’re made, which are two of the industry's main principles. He seized the opportunity to tell manufacturers’ stories, showcase their innovations and celebrate the industry that makes our lives better because it’s often underappreciated.

With his passion and expertise leading the way, he believed (and now knows) that he could help improve the perception of the industry. By marrying brand and marketing to reflect unique products and show that modern life is manufactured, he helps the industry “look the part.”

Rob’s accomplishments, within manufacturing and beyond, stand out as essential contributions to our industry and the Charlotte community as they exhibit creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern:

  • 2021 – American Precision Museum – A museum in Vermont that honors the history of manufacturing in America. Rob earned this project because of his impressive portfolio of environmental design work as well as his long-standing relationships with key leaders in the manufacturing industry.
  • 2009-2019 – GUTS – In pursuit of his passion for creativity and in support of the Charlotte community, Rob founded a pumpkin carving contest where Charlotte creatives and agencies duke it out to carve the best pumpkin. The event grew from a small parking lot gathering to a city event at Truist Field. Not only did GUTS bring the Charlotte creative community together, but more notably, it raised over $250,000 in a decade for Levine Children’s Hospital and the local chapter of Make-A-Wish.
  • 2014 – Charlotte American Advertising Awards – Crafted volunteered its agency time in support of AAF Charlotte by developing the “Return to the Golden Age” creative theme for the 2014 installment of the Advertising Awards. The team also created the marketing for the event.

While this list isn’t exhaustive (it barely scratches the surface of what Rob has accomplished as a thought leader, marketer and creative with more than 32 years of experience), these three efforts started with a big idea. Rob understands that to create something meaningful with a lasting impact, the big idea matters from the beginning.

AAF Charlotte is an integral part of our creative community because they bring us together, showcase national speakers and celebrate ideas by rewarding those who push for great work.

- Rob Hawse

Medal Icon

History Of The Silver Medal Award

In their own words, the AAF’s Silver Medal Award Program recognizes men and women “who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and have been active in furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern.” The AAF Silver Medal is also the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award.

For more than 60 years, AAF Silver Medal Award recipients have been selected by a small group of esteemed judges (who also are Silver Award winners themselves) from each local chapter. The following criteria are used to make the selection:

  • Contribution to His/Her Company – The recipient must have achieved success in one of the following areas of work: advertising agency, advertiser, media or advertising service.
  • Creative Ability – The recipient must have shown a consistent, high degree of original thinking in their field.
  • Contributions to the General Advancement of Advertising – The recipient should be someone who has been active in civic, religious or other groups dedicated to human or social welfare.
  • Service to the American Advertising Federation – The honoree should have demonstrated long-term commitment to the local American Advertising Federation chapter. Service to the corresponding AAF District and AAF National further solidifies the depth of service.

As an experienced marketer and creative who continuously challenges the limits of our industry, clients and community in the relentless pursuit of unleashing greatness and creating a world where innovation never goes unnoticed, Rob Hawse exceeds each criterion.

Previous winners include Jennifer Appleby (Wray Ward), Peggy Brookhouse (Luquire), Banks Wilson (Union) and Charlie Elberson (Elberson Senger Shuler). Rob Hawse joins their ranks this year with a career of merit, excellence and inspiration that continues to impact our city.

Rob Hawse speaking at Charlotte’s American Advertising Awards ceremony

Throughout his career, Rob has always stressed the importance of listening to, learning from and sharing what he knows with those around him. He approaches an idea from various angles and values others' opinions. He asks questions. He has a deep understanding of the industry. And he works persistently every day to inspire and empower others.

Rob is the first to say that his accomplishments wouldn’t be possible without his mentors and his team at Crafted. As an employer, Rob always puts his employees first and focuses on creating strong bonds with clients by practicing an outward mindset. Leading with your why also inspires Rob and his employees to be driven by purpose and beliefs rather than dully going through the motions of work.

The recognition and triumph of the AAF Silver Medal Award validate his commitment to his employees, the community, manufacturing and all things well-crafted.

To many, Rob is an inspiration as a creative, marketer, entrepreneur and community member. And although he would never agree with this, it’s this very humility that anchors his pursuits and allows him to be the influence that he is today.

American Advertising Federation Silver Metal Award

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