Television may still be the most popular draw at the International Clio Festival, but
the formerly top-billed act is, more than ever,
just part of an ensemble. Integrated campaigns—which are judged in three separate categories—informed this year's
festival choices for Advertiser of the Year and Lifetime Achievement, and fueled, almost exclusively, entry growth to the awards show.
Almost 1,000 people were expected to attend the 2006 Clio Festival in Miami Beach this weekend, which kicked off Saturday evening with a screening of classic commercials and three inductions into the Hall of Fame. Introduced by Tony Davidson, ecd of Wieden + Kennedy London and Clio Television/ Cinema jury chair, John West's "Bear" by Leo Burnett in London, Budweiser's "Whassup?" by DDB in Chicago and two Fox Sports Network spots, "Turkey" and "China," by Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York, were admitted to the pantheon of esteemed commercials.
Though the four-day celebration opened with the TV Hall of Fame induction, this year integration—as shown by the growing number of entries in the content & contact, integrated and innovative competitions—drove the awards show's growth. The Clio Awards accepted just under 19,000 entries this year, up from 18,500 last year. Together, content & contact, integrated and innovative drew about 1,300 entries, about 400 more than last year. This year, 550 guests are expected to attend the Radio and Television gala at the Jackie Gleason Theater on Tuesday night, and almost as many, about 500, are expected to attend the Monday night affair honoring winners in the newer categories, as well as print, Internet and design.
"The growth in those categories represents, No. 1, the client's wish to have some success in a dual-directed conversation with consumers," says Ami Brophy, executive director of the Clio Awards.
One such client is Axe, Unilever's naughty-boy body spray. The company has been named the Clio Festival's Advertiser of the Year, in part because of its commitment to integration. Agencies worldwide submitted Axe work for Clio consideration in all categories, according to a festival release.
"One of the things I respect most is that they require us to show them ideas, more than they're looking for an execution or media solutions," says Kevin Roddy, ecd of Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York, Axe's U.S. agency. Roddy noted that the agency's work was entered in the integrated category and also piecemeal in separate categories, including TV and print. "Agencies are going there [towards integration] more and more, but it is clients that [are] few and far between; they're a very innovative client."
The festival also honored Bob Greenberg, CEO and chairman of R/GA, for his contributions to integration. Greenberg received this year's Lifetime Achievement Award at a dinner on Sunday. "His ongoing commitment to integrated communications and 'best-of-breed' collaboration place him at the forefront of the industry, where R/GA leads the way in developing multidisciplinary advertising that successfully engages today's empowered consumer in new ways," Brophy says.
The growth of integrated entrants is a reflection of agency interest in multiple touchpoints, particularly in the wake of successful work like Beta-7, BMW Films and "a lot of the Crispin Porter work," says Brophy. Indeed, John Merrifield, CCO of TBWA\Japan and print chairman, whose jury also judged the innovative and integrated categories, notes that Crispin Porter + Bogusky's integrated work again impressed and helped raise the bar overall. "In print/poster, it was like we were searching for gold, but in innovative and integrated, we had to narrow it down," he says, referring to the quality of the entries.
Print jurist Rob Reilly, cd at CP+B in Miami, chalked the matter up to the agency's experience. "We've had some success in that area. … It seems now that other agencies and clients are seeing that too and allowing the agencies to go for it." Particularly noteworthy, he says, was the introduction of large clients into the innovative and integrated categories. "They're realizing that a paper cup in a supermarket is worth two Super Bowl impressions," Reilly says. "They're starting to understand the value."
Stacking the jury with industry front-runners like Reilly and Merrifield, the architect of Adidas' heralded outdoor vertical executions, is part of the festival's strategy to "inspire the next generation of creatives," says Brophy, who adds that organizers looked for "the next wave … people who are not solely in a management role, they're in the trenches." TV chair Davidson was cd on Wieden + Kennedy's awards show darling "Grrr" for Honda. And Paul Woolmington, who leads the New York office of Naked, is chairman of the content & contact jury, which recognizes the intersection of creative and media.
Clio planners have tried to create a schedule of events that looks beyond ads, including a seminar on how Cirque du Soleil grew from a five-man Paris street troupe to an international brand. Of course, the festival will culminate in the two-night awards galas, and it is working on returning the awards to its past televised glory. (In 1974, the two-hour ceremony was broadcast live on ABC; it returned to the airwaves on Fox from 1986 to 1990, and again from 1994 to 1996 as specials showcasing the ads and hosted by the likes of Kelsey Grammer and Bill Maher.) The shows were popular, says Clio managing director Anthony Gulisano, because they gave Americans their only chance to see their favorite ads in one place. "It really propelled the Clios," he says. But changes in ownership at the Clios and changes at Fox pushed the awards show off the air. (The Clios are now owned by Adweek parent VNU.)
This year, the festival will be featured on Ad Persuasion, a weekly half-hour Canadian TV show launching in September, and a deal with Hearst TV is also in the works for the 2007 event, Brophy says.