It remains the most notorious night in advertising history—June 13, 1991.
The Clio Awards were scheduled to hand out their radio and print awards. But as Adweek later told the story, "what ensued was less an ad-award show than a tawdry circus, an event so grossly mismanaged that its trajectory from embarrassing to appalling seemed, in retrospect, almost destined—'beyond the beyond-o,' as Ruth Ayres of DDB Needham put it.
"The ceremony started late, was hosted largely by the caterer, featured presenters who (when they weren't singing Irish lullabies) tried to guess the agency winners since they had no list, and was aborted when fevered, greedy ad types rushed the stage in a mad grab for Clios they hadn't won."
It was quite the shameful scene indeed. But now, at least, Clio can laugh about it.
On this 25th anniversary of the 1991 debacle, Clio got Funny Or Die to re-enact that fateful night in an amusing video starring Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman—the latter acting as host of a fictitious show called Unresolved Mysteries.
Check it out here:
It's a fun, self-deprecating bit from Clio, a great way to remember a not-so-great night.
One attendee told Adweek at the time that the mad Clio grab was "like watching piranhas eat the flesh off a cow in the river." Another added: "If anybody enters the Clios after this, they've got to be out of their minds."
But of course, the Clios did recover, which is the happy ending to this whole saga. The Clio Awards will host its latest ceremony in New York this Wednesday night, where everyone will presumably be, at least relatively speaking, well behaved.
See Adweek's cover from June 17, 1991, below.