The Houston Chapter of the American Marketing Association held its 26th Annual Crystal Awards this week, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston. The Crystal Awards are the association’s premier event, honoring the vision and strategic direction of the city’s best marketing work.

Judges evaluated hundreds of entries in 59 categories, with a record 81 organizations submitting entries this year. The 229 finalist entries were on display at the event, out of more than 550 registrations. Miss Richfield 1981 provided an outstanding comedy performance for the capacity crowd.

Among the top winning organizations this year were the University of Houston, Weatherford International, LyondellBasell, Texas Children’s Hospital, and Vision Production Group. The coveted Judges’ Favorite award went to the University of Houston for the “Keeping it Red” social media campaign. LyondellBasell was among the top winners.

“Our team thoroughly enjoyed the event, the networking with peers, and viewing everyone’s hard work.”

– Bill Herdman, LyondellBasell marketing communications manager

“It was a special night and we were pleased to announce our 2012 winners and network with all of the finalists and their guests,” said Stacey Eddington, AMA Houston president. “To win at the Crystal’s means you were able to create and execute an effective marketing program. These organizations demonstrated that their efforts could truly stand above the rest.”

Organizers said they appreciated the generous support of Crystal Awards sponsors and partners, without whom, they couldn’t have provided all the awards.

Co-chairs of this year’s event were Jared Houser with LivingSocial, Ngoc Ma with Waste Management, and Jenn Soto with Starr Marketing. More than 25 other volunteers worked on the Crystal Awards.

Some of the proceeds from the Crystal Awards went to AMA Houston Gives Back, the chapter’s philanthropic arm that provides annual grants to non-profits to assist them with their marketing-related activities. Almost $5,000 was raised in donations, which combined with 2011-12 fiscal year event revenue brings the grants amount to $15,000.

There were seven grant recipients, selected from a record 39 applications. They were Bering Support Network, Child Builders, Dionysus Theatre, Friends of Texas Wildlife, Living Forward Alliance, Justice for Children, and The Rose. The chapter also announced a special additional grant to Living Forward Alliance, given in memory of the late Richard Laurence Baron and announced by Barbara Nytes-Baron. The chapter raised funds for that grant through online donations from his many colleagues and friends in the marketing community.