Clio Awards

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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 US$150,000[4] (equivalent to $928,043 in 2020) and the Clios became a profitable "for profit" company.[3] At one point,[when?] 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 (directed by Ridley Scott) 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, a nearly identical situation occurred when Doyle Dane Bernbach, the ad agency for Ziebart, purchased time on a Detroit channel carrying the inaugural Cherry Bowl college football game in December in order for Ziebart's "Friend of the Family (Rust in Peace)" commercial to be eligible for the awards the following year. The commercial won 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[edit]

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

The caterer of the event announced that the master of ceremonies was considered 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[edit]

On March 17, 1992, Clio Enterprises Inc., filed for bankruptcy, claiming $1.8 million in debts and indeterminate assets of at least $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 $600,000 debt. Another Chicagoan, former film editor James M. Smyth, put up the money and became sole owner of the Clio Awards. On New Year's Eve of 1992, Smyth began working on the 1993 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] Andrew Jaffe at Adweek managed the acquisition.[14]


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.[15][unreliable source?]

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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18] International submissions are also included in the collection.[17]

Clio is currently part of Clio Awards, LLC which also owned Ads of the World website.


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.[citation needed]

In 2014, Clio assembled a 50/50 male-female jury, of which 75% were international (non-US) judges.[19] 2014 was also the year Clio began holding judging sessions internationally. The 2014 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.[20]


  1. ^ Riordan, Steve (1989). Clio Awards: A Tribute to 30 Years of Advertising Excellence 1960-1989, Part 1. PBC International. ISBN 0-86636-124-3.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Advertising The Collapse Of Clio". Time. July 1, 1991. Archived from the original on November 22, 2010. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  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 (September 4, 1992). "Hello Clio, What's New? : Advertising Executives Slow to Welcome Reincarnated Award Ceremony". LA Times. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  5. ^ Linzmayer, Owen (1994). The Mac Bathroom Reader. Sybex, ISBN 978-0-7821-1531-4
  6. ^ "What's Wrong With Detroit Now". Detroit Free Press. August 26, 1985. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved July 3, 2016 – via
  7. ^ O'Connor, John J. (December 7, 1988). "Review/Television; Special Offer: The Clio Candidates". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 25, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  8. ^ Elliott, Stuart (March 18, 1992). "Bankruptcy Filing By Clio Enterprises". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 2, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  9. ^ Elliott, Stuart (September 14, 1992). "'New' Clios Face a Test Of Credibility". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 2, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  10. ^ Horovitz, Bruce (September 16, 1992). "Swiss Firm Wins Top Clio Award". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  11. ^ Millman, Nancy (February 22, 1993). "Tempo reported on the New Clio Awards". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  12. ^ Feigenbaum, Nancy (February 1, 1993). "The Clio Awards is about to get yet". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  13. ^ Elliot, Stuart (May 28, 1993). "Another Setback For Clio Awards". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 18, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  14. ^ Elliott, Stuart (6 March 2010). "Andrew Jaffe, Who Brought Clios to Adweek, Is Dead at 71". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  15. ^ Kelly, Keith J. (May 23, 2010). "CLIO awards return to downtown just as advertised". New York Post. Archived from the original on May 26, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  16. ^ "Nicole Purcell Named President of CLIO". The Hollywood Reporter. January 20, 2015. Archived from the original on August 5, 2021. Retrieved August 5, 2021 – via Yahoo Sports.
  17. ^ a b "IU Libraries Moving Image Archive is the new home for decades of award-winning commercials". News at IU Bloomington. December 14, 2017. Archived from the original on April 6, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2021.
  18. ^ "Clio Awards Collection · Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive". Archived from the original on April 20, 2018. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "The 55th CLIO Awards Opens For Entries". February 5, 2014. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "About Clio". 2016. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2021.

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