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The History of the GBU Awards

In 1996, an election year, Advertising Women of New York (AWNY) board member Margie Goldsmith noticed an ad for Wonderbra which appeared in a woman's magazine. The ad was a photo of three sexy women "candidates", each one wearing only a lacy pushup Wonderbra. The copy headline read "SURE BEATS VOTING FOR PRESIDENT". In small print, the ad encouraged readers to go into any department store and vote for one of the three featured models in the photo. Goldsmith, who at the time was the Board advisor of AWNY's Public Relations Committee, walked into the meeting holding up the Wonderbra ad. "Look at this," she said, "It took us as women almost a century to get the vote and now they ask us to vote for a pair of boobs? We ought to have an awards ceremony for ads which denigrate women."

The Public Relations committee took up the challenge - to create an awards ceremony that would celebrate advertising that depicted women positively, and embarrass those advertisers whose ads denigrated women. The only judging criterion was, "Would you show the ad to your daughter or son?"

The awards ceremony was called "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" Awards, and was held in September 1997. Surprisingly, the Wonderbra ad did not receive an "Ugly", as there were so many more ads that were even more degrading to women.

The overwhelming success and positive press encouraged AWNY's PR Committee to make the event an annual awards ceremony.

The Advertising Educational Foundation is grateful to AWNY for making the Good, Bad & Ugly commercials available on aef.com.