CHARLESTON -- His dad might have four law degrees, get to wear a special robe, sit at a big bench and have people stand up when he enters a courtroom, but Justus Loughry has more trophies.
And he’s only seven years old.
Justus recently won a Pollie Award from the American Association of Political Consultants for best use of a television ad. Last year, he won two Telly Awards, which honor online videos, film, and cable TV commercials. Both Telly Awards were for his father’s 2012 Supreme Court campaign commercials, in which he played a prominent part.
West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Allen H. Loughry said he and his wife, Kelly, know they have a star in their midst.
“I’ve been in office since January of 2013 and not a single week passes in which people haven’t talked to me about my son and his role in the commercials,” Justice Loughry said. “He did an excellent job.”
Kelly Loughry feels the commercials really resonated with people. In fact, a woman once stopped her to tell her that her daughter would run into the room every time the girl heard Justus on TV.
Another time, a fellow patron at a gas station recognized Justus from the commercials, despite the fact that he was wearing multiple layers of clothing and a hooded winter coat because the family had just come from a WVU football game.
“Kelly and I are so proud of Justus," Justice Loughry said. "He is a very fun and talented little boy."
Justus said his favorite part about starring in the commercials was the opportunity to see behind the scenes how ads are actually produced. He also said it was fun to see himself on TV.
“It was a lot of fun making the commercials with Mom and Dad,” Justus said. “I like doing stuff as a family, and I enjoyed learning how television commercials were really made.”
For the Telly Awards, Justus was chosen from among 12,000 entries. One award was for the commercial “The Real Justus Loughry.” The other was for the three commercial campaign ads produced by The Manahan Group of Charleston. Justus appeared in two of the three.
For the Pollie, Justus won the bronze award under the category “Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda” for Best Use of a Television Ad.
“He entered into a category more difficult than most,” Justice Loughry said. “Generally, you get an award for a political commercial for that specific year. Justus, though, was in a category where anyone could enter commercials from any decade.”
The Loughry family is proud of the awards because they honor an upbeat, family-focused ad campaign. This was a guiding principle that the Loughrys were determined to follow throughout the campaign.
“It’s so great to be recognized for commercials that are positive,” said Kelly Loughry, a Morgan County native. She and Justice Loughry, who grew up in Tucker County, believe the ads were successful in part because they were filmed in their home -- a modest West Virginia residence occupied by an average West Virginia family with, as Justus said in one ad, “no skeletons.”
Despite an obvious and very natural knack for acting, Justus Loughry has not expressed an interest in pursuing a future in front of the camera.
Instead, this talented and imaginative 7-year-old’s ambition is to work for Lego as “an engineer designing Lego sets.”
His back-up plan if that doesn’t work out? To be a Justice on the Supreme Court like his dad. After all, every kid needs something to fall back on.
Justice Loughry said Justus likes to visit his office to learn about the Supreme Court and enjoys watching arguments before the Court. He even likes to play the role of Justice or as counsel arguing before the Supreme Court.
“Justus will create a set of facts and issues for numerous pretend cases that he develops,” JusticeLoughry said. “He then likes to go to the courtroom to stand behind the podium to present his cases just like attorneys do in the actual arguments before the Supreme Court.”
Of course that’s after he’s done playing with his Legos.