Host Whoopi Goldberg brought the funny all evening long at Wednesday's 55th Clio Awards in New York. But it was Jerry Seinfeld who brought down the house with a brilliant, hilarious speech about why he loves advertising—which ended up being a blistering anti-advertising rant that comically eviscerated the business.
"I love advertising because I love lying," Seinfeld began. And he only got more brutally honest from there.
"I just want to enjoy the commercial," he said. "We know the product is going to stink. We know that because we live in the world, and we know that everything stinks. We all believe, 'Hey, maybe this one won't stink.' We are a hopeful species. Stupid but hopeful. But we're happy in that moment between the commercial and the purchase. And I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-won earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy."
Seinfeld also mentioned the debacle that happened at the 1991 Clio Awards, when greedy attendees rushed the stage in a mad grab for Clios they hadn't won. That's his favorite award-show story, Seinfeld said, because it's so honest.
There were roars of laughter—because of course, Seinfeld is hardly an innocent party in the ad game. He's done plenty of lying and duping over the years, most recently for Acura, and was getting an Honorary Award for that work last night. (He also thanked Ogilvy & Mather and American Express for getting him into the business to begin with.)
But while most attendees agreed the speech was the highlight of the night, there may have been a few hurt feelings here and there. As an award winner said in his speech later in the night, "Apparently everything I do is meaningless. But it was Jerry Seinfeld who said it, so I suppose that makes it OK."
Via Clios.com, which just unveiled a new blog this week. (Disclosure: Adweek and the Clio Awards are both owned by affiliates of Guggenheim Partners.)