What We’re Thankful For: The Clio Staff Celebrates 2017 (So Far)

Thanksgiving is all about taking stock and appreciating those big, capital-letter Concepts like health and family and your fantasy football standing. But it’s also made up of year-long micro-appreciations, like having a job you enjoy coming to every day, or that chance meeting with an old colleague that sparked an exciting new idea. The staff of the Clio Awards—with their minds already on 2018—have taken the opportunity of this holiday to reflect on what they’ve accomplished and experienced so far, and to appreciate those moments, campaigns, and experiences that left them feeling grateful and inspired.


Need proof that working with inspiring content makes you immediately more optimistic? When the Clio staff looks back on 2017, they see things like “hope” and “passion” and “resonance” (compare that to the key words everyone else is using to describe the year so far).

“We’ve had jurors over the last few years since I’ve been here that have such amazing energy and passion for what they do that it’s contagious,” says Clio marketing manager Candice Pierson.  “I do have to say that Michelle Lee from Allure (2017 F&B jury), Bozoma St John (2016 Music Juror) and Swati Bhattacharya (2017 Clio Jury Chair) definitely stand out as exceptional women that I now follow on social just to get my daily dose of positivity.” Clio vice president of marketing Brooke Levy found similar inspiration in Sesame Street. “Having the opportunity to honor Sesame Workshop at the Clios this year was incredibly special,” she says. “So many of us grew up with Sesame but weren't aware of the extent of their efforts outside of our own country—sharing their tireless commitment to helping children in every corner of the world grow smarter, stronger and kinder was defintely a highlight."

Director of judging Emily Seal pointed to the rise of “purpose-driven and inclusive marketing” as a highpoint, as the industry as a whole seemed to embrace its power to influence “our ever-changing and diverse world.” She points out MLB’s “Ponle Acento” campaign, Skittles’ “Give the Rainbow,” Bo Gilbert’s “100 Year Old Model,” and Lane Bryant’s “#ThisBody” as true standouts.

MLB’s “Ponle Acento” case study. Putting the Accent on Béisbol.

Fellow director of judging Steve Mergaman echoed these thoughts, giving special notice to the Ministry of Public Health Afghanistan’s “Immunity Charm” initiative, Boost Mobile’s “Boost Your Voice” campaign and, of course, State Street Global Advisors’ iconic “Fearless Girl.” Mergaman also felt that 180LA chief creative officer Will Gelner’s Clio Awards acceptance speech summed up 2017 perfectly: “Fight for the little ones. They’re the ones that really fucking matter.”

Fearless Girl

Since sports and Thanksgiving seem to go together like stuffing and gravy, it’s fitting that Clio associate director of marketing Catherine Amelio was so impressed by the winning entries in the “Social Good” medium at the Clio Sports awards, including PlayPallets International’s innovative sports outreach program, Banco Bradesco’s stirring, Olympic-themed “Gabriel” spot, and, of course, the heartwrenching “Signed By Steve” campaign from Answer ALS.

Steve signing a Gleason jersey

The work that SickKids and Cossette Toronto did this past year to change the conversation around childhood healthcare can’t be overstated, with their “VS” campaign putting forward a surprisingly upbeat and empowering spin on a serious issue. “Not only did they deliver the strength that anyone who walks through those doors – medical staff, parents, and especially the children – have to battle, but also not shying away from real life.  In real life, shit gets real and we have to fight tooth and nail to get through it,” says Clio event manager Carly Angeloni. “As a native Torontonian, former patient, and aunt of a nephew who has just started his first week of intensive chemo and another 3 weeks regenerating his bone marrow from a stem cell transplant at SickKids, I am thankful for the people in all the corners of a great organization.”


Of course, tackling the serious issues and fighting the good fight are a powerful backbone for this industry, but so is work that just puts a smile on your face for no other reason that it happens to be fun.

A number of people pointed out the infectious “Kenzo World” short film as a highlight, along with Volkswagon AG’s “Laughing Horses” – neither requiring too much context or introspection to be enjoyed. Admit it, you can’t make it through the horse video without cracking a smile.

Volkswagen Tiguan ad: Laughing Horses

As Mergaman puts it, “As data and analytics have become the constant king in a ROI focused world, it’s refreshing to see the lighter side of advertising recognized.” Other highlights include the Minnesota Viking’s SKOL chant campaign and Donate Life’s head-shakingly effective “The World’s Biggest Asshole.”

The World's Biggest Asshole


There are myriad reasons to let the events of 2017 wear you down mentally and emotionally, so appreciating the atomosphere cultivated among the growing Clio community is paramount.

Senior judging manager Ashley Falls was particularly thankful for all of the jurors who served across all of the Clio programs, and for their undying passion for the work they do and the industry they call home. Like Clio, our jurors have an eye on the future as well. “Through our many conversations both in and out of the judging room, their passion and love for what they do, inspires us to keep working harder to create programs that truly fit their specific industries,” says Falls.  “I had a juror reach out this year asking for the contact information for a handful of student winners.  He loved their vision and wanted to connect with them further. I’m thankful that our jurors see student work and feel inspired by it.”

It seemed almost scripted that the last major event on the Clio Awards 2017 calendar – the Clio Entertainment Awards in Los Angeles – featuring as its focal point an acceptance speech that was repeatedly brought up as a highlight, ongoing source of encouragement and inspiration, and something for which everyone at the Clios was very, very thankful. FX Network’s Stephanie Gibbons set the exact right tone for an industry poised for bigger and better things in 2018.

Clio Network of the Year Recut

Happy Thanksgiving!