Clio Awards
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Clio Awards
Clio Awards
Clio Awards logo.svg
Clio Awards logo
Awarded forcreative excellence in advertising and design
Presented byEvolution Media
First awarded1960; 61 years ago (1960)

The Clio Awards is an annual award program that recognizes innovation and creative excellence in advertising, design and communication, as judged by an international panel of advertising professionals.[1]Time magazine described the event (in 1991) as the world's most recognizable international advertising awards.[2]


The awards, founded by Wallace A. Ross in 1959, are named for the Greek goddess Clio, the mythological Muse known as "the proclaimer, glorifier and celebrator of history, great deeds and accomplishments".[3]


The Clios were first given in 1959, for excellence in television advertising, by the American TV and Radio Commercials Festival. Each winner received a gold Georg Olden-designed statuette. The competition was expanded to include work on international television and movies in 1966, and then radio ads, in the United States, in 1967.[3]


Engraved plaque on the 1977 Clio award given to Artie Schroeck for arranging the music in a McDonald's jingle.

The Clio Awards were acquired by Bill Evans in 1972 for $150,000[4] and the Clios became a profitable "for profit" company.[3] At one point, the company's income was $2.5 million per year, being derived primarily from Clio nomination fees, of $70 to $100 per entry.[2]

Evans expanded competition by including: U.S. Print advertising in 1971; International Print advertising in 1972; International Radio advertising in 1974; U.S. Packaging design in 1976; International Packaging design; and U.S. Specialty advertising in 1977.[3]


In 1983, Evans continued to expand by acquiring U.S. Cable advertising in 1983.[3]

The rules for the 1984 award required that a given entry appear publicly during the calendar year in 1983. In order to be eligible, Chiat/Day needed to run Apple Computer's 1984 commercial for the Macintosh computer prior to Super Bowl XVIII. In December 1983, Apple purchased time on KMVT in Twin Falls, Idaho, after the normal sign-off, and recorded the broadcast in order to qualify.[5]

In 1984, the following year, a nearly identical situation occurred when Ziebart's ad agency, Doyle Dane Bernbach, purchased time on a Detroit channel carrying the inaugural Cherry Bowl college football game in December, 1984 in order for that commercial to be eligible for the 1985 awards. The move paid off as Ziebart's "Friend of the Family (Rust in Peace)" commercial garnered the Clio Award in 1985.[6]

In 1987, Evans acquired Hispanic advertising.[3]

The 1988 awards were aired on television on FOX and hosted by David Leisure on December 7, 1988.[7]


1991 Clio Awards

Attendees of the 1991 Clio Awards who had paid the US$125 admission price did not have tickets waiting at the door, as promised. Also missing were any Clio officials and Clio President Bill Evans.

The caterer of the event announced that the master of ceremonies was a no-show, but that he would attempt to stand-in as the host. He informed the audience that the winners list had been lost. Print ads were the first awards; transparencies of the winning entries were displayed, sometimes backwards or out of focus. As each image appeared on screen, the owner of the work was asked to come to the stage, pick up their Clio, and identify themselves and their agency. Eventually, advertising executives, intent on the Clios that remained, rushed the stage and grabbed any that had not been claimed.[2][4]

The event for television commercials, scheduled a few days later, was called off.[2][4]

1992 bankruptcy

On March 17, 1992, Clio Enterprises Inc., filed for bankruptcy, claiming $1.8 million in debts and indeterminate assets of at least US$1 million.[8]Chicago publisher Ruth Ratny purchased the Clio name for an undisclosed figure. Evans had wanted $2 million, and trade publications reported a sale price of $10,000, which Ratny called low. Ratny reorganized the event as the New Clio Awards, and combined what had previously been two events into a single presentation, which was delayed from June until September 1992. Advertising Age magazine reported 6,000 entries, less than one quarter of the 1990 total. As a concession to the 1991 winners who had not yet received the trophies, their entry fee was waived. The 1990 award show at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts drew 1,800, while only 500 paid for the 1992 show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel,[4] which was hosted by Tony Randall. A total of 86 awards in 73 categories were handed out.[9] Another major change with the "New" Clios was direct competition between U.S. and foreign firms, which resulted in Swiss agency Comsult/Advico Young & Rubicam being named the winner of the best Television campaign.[10]

A bankruptcy court ruled that the creditors of the 1991 Clio Awards should be paid. At the time, Ratny lacked the financial resources to settle the US$600,000 debt. Another Chicagoan, James M. Smyth a former film editor, put up the money and became sole owner of the Clio Awards. On New Year's Eve of 1992, he began working on the 1993 Clio awards show.[11][12] The award ceremony was again delayed until September, and Jay Chiat of TBWA\Chiat\Day, Rick Fizdale from Leo Burnett Worldwide and Keith Reinhard at DDB Worldwide joined the Clio Executive Committee.[13]

In 1997, the Clios were sold to Dutch-owned company VNU Media.[2]


In 2007, VNU changed its name to the Nielsen Company.[2]

In 2009, e5 Global Media assumed control of Clio, when it acquired magazines Adweek and Billboard (among others) from Nielsen Business Media.[14]

In 2010, Nicole Purcell was appointed Executive Director of Clio and Brooke Levy was hired to run marketing for the organization. In 2015, Nicole Purcell was promoted to President.[15]

In 2017, the Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive acquired the Clio Awards Collection from the London International Awards, the organization that purchased the collection from the Clio organization in 1992.[16] Composed of thousands of reels of 16mm and 35mm film, the collection contains Clio entries and winners from the 1960s through the early 1990s across a wide variety of categories.[17] International submissions are also included in the collection.[16]

Clio is currently part of MediaBistro Holdings, a group that also includes Adweek and The Film Expo Group, and is owned by Guggenheim Partners.[18][19]


Clio stated, in 2007, that the competition received more than 19,000 entries from all over the world and enlisted a jury of more than 110 judges from 62 countries. Nearly two-thirds of the submissions came from outside the United States.[20]

In 2014, Clio assembled a 50/50 male-female jury made up of more than 70% international (non-US) judges.[21] 2014 was also the year Clio began holding judging sessions internationally. The 2014 judging session took place in Malta, and the 2015 session was set to take place in Tenerife, Spain.

According to the Clio Awards website, more than 80% of submissions are eliminated within the first two rounds. Juries then determine whether a work deserves to be included on the Shortlist, or receive a Bronze, Silver, or Gold medal. One work in each media type may be awarded the Grand Clio, the highest honor.[22]

Grand Clio Award (1988)


  1. ^ Clio Awards: A Tribute to 30 Years of Advertising Excellence 1960-1989/Part 1, ISBN 0-86636-124-3, PBC International, September 1990
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Advertising The Collapse Of Clio" Archived 2010-11-22 at the Wayback Machine Time magazine, July 1, 1991
  3. ^ a b c d e f Carder, Sheri: "Clio Awards" The Guide to United States popular culture, pages 180-181, ISBN 978-0-87972-821-2
  4. ^ a b c d Horovitz, Bruce: "Hello Clio, What's New?" Archived 2012-03-15 at the Wayback Machine Los Angeles Times, September 4, 1992
  5. ^ Linzmayer, Owen (1994). The Mac Bathroom Reader. Sybex, ISBN 978-0-7821-1531-4
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-19. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^
  8. ^ Elliott, Stuart: "Bankruptcy Filing By Clio Enterprises" Archived 2016-10-02 at the Wayback Machine New York Times, March 18, 1992
  9. ^ Elliott, Stuart: "'New' Clios Face a Test Of Credibility" Archived 2016-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times, September 14, 1992
  10. ^ Horovitz, Bruce: "Swiss Firm Wins Top Clio Award" Archived 2012-11-03 at the Wayback Machine. Los Angeles Times, September 16, 1992
  11. ^ Millman, Nancy: "Tempo reported on the New Clio Awards" Archived 2012-06-14 at the Wayback Machine Chicago Tribune, February 22, 1993
  12. ^ Feigenbaum, Nancy: "The Clio Awards is about to get yet" Archived 2010-06-28 at the Wayback Machine Orlando Sentinel, February 1, 1993
  13. ^ Elliot, Stuart: "ADVERTISING -- ADDENDA; Another Setback For Clio Awards" Archived 2018-01-18 at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times, May 28, 1993
  14. ^ Kelly, Keith: "CLIO awards return to downtown just as advertised" New York Post, May 23, 2010
  15. ^ "CLIO Names Nicole Purcell President". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved .
  16. ^ a b "We interrupt your viewing pleasure with this message from our sponsors". News at IU. Archived from the original on 2018-04-06. Retrieved .
  17. ^ "Clio Awards Collection · Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive". Archived from the original on 2018-04-20. Retrieved .
  18. ^ "Adweek Parent Company Buys Mediabistro Editorial Assets". AdWeek. Archived from the original on 2015-09-04. Retrieved .
  19. ^ Clio Awards Archived 2017-10-14 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 19 Oct. 2017.
  20. ^ "About Clio" Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine Clio 2010
  21. ^ "CLIO Awards 2015". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved .
  22. ^ "About Clio" Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine Clio 2016

External links

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