The Game Within The Game: A Look Inside the Super Clio

See the competition where innovation and impact score higher than touchdowns and interceptions.

Take a moment to think of a live televised event where you are just as (if not more) excited to see the accompanying ads as you are to watch the event itself. Some brands have tried for Academy Awards spots, but they failed to cast much of a shadow over the main event. No one is building anticipation for the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies ads. It is in this sphere that the Super Bowl truly stands alone. An event that should, logically, only appeal to a small segment of the population—football fans—has instead leveled its playing field to give everyone something to get excited about beyond just good company and better nachos.

So why aren’t these ads celebrated in a way that rises up to meet their stature? You can’t lump them in with regular campaigns because they are specifically tailored to be “Super Bowl Commercials” in capital letters. This is their moment, and if you wait to judge them beyond the context of the Big Game you risk dampening their impact. So rather than allow listicles and haphazardly-collected top ten lists be the final say on this matter, the Clios created a special honor three years ago designed to gather the best creative minds from the advertising industry and—while the fans’ cheers are still echoing through the stadium—put their expertise to work truly judging and appreciating the off-field efforts from agencies and brands.

This is the Super Clio. And this is your official look at how Super Bowl LII will set the stage for this one-of-a-kind creative showcase.


The driving force behind the Super Clio is Global Creative Chairman of McCann Worldgroup, Rob Reilly, who has operated as “non-voting commissioner” of the award since he helped create it in 2015. Each year, Rob actively seeks out not just top-level creatives, but the right mix of top level creatives.

The process begins months before the NFL playoffs are even a consideration, with the “big game” merely a foundation upon which this team will build its real work. Reilly and the Clio team begin penciling in their jury choices early on in the hopes of finding the right chemistry for the room. The ask is simple, which is why the mix is vital.

”This year’s lineup is top tier and representative of the immense and diverse creative talent that our industry has,” says Reilly.

Each juror has to pick their personal top three of the night, and then the group convenes the next day at McCann’s offices in New York City—those who can’t physically be present can phone in, but having people in the room is always the goal—to deliberate over which ad deserves the ultimate prize. In previous years, the groups have honored pieces that may not have been the most bombastic, but definitely showed creativity and a distinct sense of brand perspective, such as Jeep’s 2016 Super Clio winner, which highlighted its unique place in history…

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…or last year’s honoree which had Albert Einstein channeling his inner Lady Gaga, just seconds after she was finished performing her halftime extravaganza.

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So how are the people tasked with choosing the best of the best? The 2018 jury room has a roster of 11 handpicked individuals, consisting of six women and five men with considerable creative influence in the industry. Reilly is especially proud of this year’s mix, which he is confident will yield dynamic jury room discussion and, ultimately, a winner to remember.

The starting line-up has been set well ahead of game time…

Sally-Ann Dale – Dale is the chief creative officer at Droga5 in New York. With over 27 years’ experience in the industry, she brings a unique perspective to the jury room. Prior to joining Droga5, Dale served as head of TV at Saatchi and Saatchi, London, where she was one of the most awarded agency producers in the UK—including “Ad of the Year” at the British Television Awards and “Best Crafted Ad of the Year” at the British Television Craft Awards.

Keith Cartwright – The executive creative director of 72andSunny in Los Angeles, Cartwright joined the agency last year after nearly two years as executive creative director for Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. He joined BSSP following its acquisition of Union Made, the agency Cartwright founded in 2012, and he previously held group creative director and creative director roles at The Martin Agency and W+K New York, where he led the Jordan brand and worked on Nike New York and Nike Canada.

Eric Silver – The former copywriter at Larsen Colby in Los Angeles (and one-time writer for Late Night With David Letterman) is currently putting his 25-plus years of experience—including running his own agency, Silver + Partners— to work as Chief Creative Officer of McCann North America. Silver has been named to Ad Age’s A-List, and served as executive creative director at BBDO where he managed FedEx, Monster and BBC. Work for all three clients was selected to Adweek’s Best of the Decade list. He also knows what makes a Super Clio winner, as he was behind last year’s winning work for NatGeo.

Veronica Beach – Beach is the head of global integrated production at DAVID, and was named by Business Insider as one of the 30 Most Creative Women in Advertising in 2017. Beach was instrumental in the establishment of DAVID in São Paulo and, as the agency's head of production she works on all of the agency's clients including Coca-Cola, Burger King, and Kraft-Heinz. 

Corinna Falusi – After four and a half years as chief creative officer at Ogilvy New York, Falusi left to take over as chief creative officer and partner at Mother New York in 2016. She started her agency career in her native Germany – first at Jung Von Matt before moving to StrawberryFrog, where she spent nearly ten years in Amsterdam and New York working on accounts ranging from P&G to Frito Lay.

Chris Garbutt – Global chief creative officer at TBWA, Garbutt started his career in 1997 as part of TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris in South Africa. Prior to re-joining TBWA in 2015, he served as chief creative officer at Ogilvy & Mather New York. At TBWA, Garbutt oversees creative direction for clients as diverse as Nissan, McDonald’s, Adidas, Pernod Ricard, and others.

Margaret Johnson – A 20-plus year veteran of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Johnson was named a partner in 2012 and was named the agency’s first chief creative officer in 2016. She has overseen work with a social conscience,  such as the Tostitos’ “Party Safe” bag designed to prevent drunk driving, Doritos’ “No Choice” chips, which encouraged millennials to register to vote, and the anti-cyberbullying campaign “#IAmAWitness” for the Ad Council. She joined Veronica Beach on Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative Women in Advertising in 2017.

David Rolfe – After production assistant work in his native Washington gave him the film bug, Rolfe ended up on a producing path that has led him to his current position as executive vice president/director of integrated production at BBDO New York. Rolfe was previously a partner at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, leading their digital innovation efforts throughout the 2000's. He has garnered nearly every content and innovation award, based on work with clients like GE, AT&T, Lowe's, Foot Locker, Pepsi, Burger King, Best Buy, Microsoft, Ikea, Anheuser-Bush, and VW among others.

Eric Segal – Segal had been executive creative director at Anomaly New York for the past four years before being named chief creative officer in 2017, the same year Ad Age named Anomaly its Agency of the Year. Prior to joining Anomaly, he spent four and a half years as executive creative director with Grey, following roughly three and a half years as a creative director with mcgarrybowen.

Myra Nussbaum – Named senior vice president, group creative director at DDB Chicago in 2016, Nussbaum oversees clients such as Mars Wrigley.  She joined DDB Chicago from FCB Chicago, where she has spent seven years serving as senior vice president, creative director, and working with brands such as Clorox, KFC, Valspar, BMO Harris Bank and Chicago Public Library. Nussbaum has also been an associate creative director with Leo Burnett Chicago, and an art director with Digitas.

Karin Onsager-Birch – FCB’s chief creative officer, Onsager-Birch oversees creative on accounts including Levi's, EAGames, Trulia, Eli Lilly, and chocolate brand Ghirardelli. When she was named to the chief creative officer position in 2015, FCB West CEO Dominic Whittles stated that Onsager-Birch brought a leadership style that was “substantive and direct,” adding that she was “open minded and solution-oriented. She’s clear about her point of view and very forthright.” 


So why exactly are these creative minds being asked to come together bright and early post-Super Bowl to debate the merits of the ads they just saw? Because, as Reilly believes, there needs to be a standard set for these spots, seeing as they overwhelm so much of the cultural conversation before and after the game. The Clio Awards have almost 60 years’ worth of expertise in the world of advertising behind it, so this is an honor that carries considerable more weight than a YouTube top 10 list.

“We’ve been choosing the cream of the advertising crop for nearly 60 years, alongside the sharpest creative minds in the industry,” says Clio president Nicole Purcell. “It was just a natural for us to become the definitive voice in Super Bowl creative.”

In creating the Super Clio, Reilly and the Clio Awards hope to shine a spotlight on ads that get plenty of attention, but not as much serious consideration. Having a Super Clio as reward encourages agencies and brands to up their game, with the bar being reset every single year. An event this big, with so much money and so vast an audience around it, needs a trophy worthy of its impact. 



Check out our weekly countdown of the greatest Super Bowl ads of all time (with commentary from some of the members of the 2018 Super Clio jury) starting here.