By Veronica Henry Posted June 2, 2009, 10:00 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS Las Vegas hosted the milestone 50th annual Clio awards show and conference program from May 12 to 14, recognizing excellence in advertising, design, and interactive media—marking the event's departure from Miami. The three-day event, held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, hosted a gathering of more than 500 advertising professionals and enthusiasts from around the world, down from 600 attendees in 2008.
With the backdrop of the rock 'n' roll-inspired Hard Rock, daily conference sessions were followed by a decade-themed award reception, highlighting the best in advertising from each era of Clio's history.
The awards are named for the Clio of Greek mythology, the muse of history and recorder of great deeds and accomplishments, and are produced by Nielsen Business Media, a division of the global information and media firm the Nielsen Company.
Each night, inside the dimly lit Rogue Joint lounge—only recently remade, reopened, and renamed—guests encountered a generous flow of appetizers, music thumping behind boisterous chatter, massive screens broadcasting international ad images, and a dancer, dressed according to each evening's theme. The award show and poolside after-party followed.
The recipient of the honorary Clio in the category of communications was Matthew Weiner, creator of Mad Men, AMC's drama about a '60s ad agency. And this year's winner of the new media award, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, challenged the next generation to pick up the new media gauntlet. The program wrapped up with an honorary Clio going to Barry Manilow, the singer and songwriter behind some of the industry's most successful jingles, who gave a live performance featuring a medley from some of his most popular ads. In the culminating event, some of the industry's most recognizable brand names walked the red carpet for the “Ad Icon Walk of Fame," posing for photos with fans.
In recognition of the 50th anniversary, the awards' executive producer, Brad Hurtado, was tasked with creating an event that surpassed its predecessors but also remained true to the style and prestige of the award. “One of the things [Karl Vontz, director of events for the Clio awards and Adweek Media] wanted was to bring back the warmth, the heart, soul, and emotion that is the Clio brand,” he said.
The event moved to Las Vegas to attract media attention for the move, as well as budgetary reasons. The new location made for lower costs to attendees, and according to a Nielsen Business Media survey of 1,800 advertising industry professionals conducted in August 2008, Las Vegas was cited as the most preferred, attractive, and affordable option for the awards.
Another significant change for the show was the use of social networking tools. The group used Facebook and Twitter to reach out to its international audience. “In four months, 1,200 creatives from all over the world had signed on to our Facebook page,” Vontz said.
In addition to the honorary Clios, other winners included BBDO Worldwide as network of the year and Volkswagen as advertiser of the year. Moving forward, the Clios will expand its brand with the addition of an October healthcare advertising award show in New York.