‘Enter the 2011 ASTRA Awards,” promised the ad campaign for the annual program of the New Jersey Communications, Advertising and Marketing Association, “and watch your star rise.”

In fact, stars were lighting up the room at NJ CAMA’s awards program on June 8. And the scene at the banquet, held at the elegant Jasna Polana golf club, was out of this world. Attendees indulged in cocktails and dinner in the former mansion of the late Seward Johnson (whose family brand is its own testament to the power of marketing), and then heard a keynote address by veteran PR man Leo Doran (who played a role, coincidentally, in the defense of J&J’s Tylenol brand after the tampering incident).

While the communications industry in New Jersey is suffering through the same economic downturn affecting the economy at large, Doran advised CAMA participants to look at the opportunities. “Big companies are outsourcing,” he said. “You should be ready to form alliances, and offer shared services. Know who you are. You can’t afford to be a full-service agency when you aren’t getting full-service requests.”

The best-in-show award gave a Christmas-in-June feel to the event. It was the annual holiday card created by Creative Marketing Alliance on Clarksville Road. In another coincidence, the holiday card and the story of how it has become a production tradition at CMA was the subject of a U.S. 1 story on December 22, 2010 (as well as one of the images on the cover of this issue).

U.S. 1’s Scott Morgan charts the rise to stardom of some of the other NJ CAMA winners.

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