Under New Ownership, Clio Awards Get Streamlined Format, Revamped Content

After purchasing the Clio Awards from the Nielsen Company at the end of last year, E5 Global Media brought the advertising industry event back to New York, the city where it started, and took the opportunity to update the decor, content, and format of the 51-year-old ceremony and conference. With Richard Beckman, former president of Condé Nast Media Group and executive producer of Fashion Rocks, installed as the C.E.O. of E5, Clio Awards director of events Karl Vontz and Asbury Park Events' Brad Hurtado moved away from last year's concept, a three-day festival at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas that included a decade-themed design, to a more contemporary, streamlined gathering.

“I wanted to bring it back to New York—the heart of the ad industry—and make it something that people really enjoy attending,” Beckman told The New York Post.

The daytime conference sessions took place last Wednesday and Thursday at the Trump SoHo, and the awards headed to Skylight in the evening, divided into one night for print and TV and another for interactive and innovative.

A noticeable difference from previous years was the abbreviated length of the entire event, including the award presentations. What had taken place over three days in Vegas in 2009 and four days at Miami's Gansevoort South in 2008 was consolidated into two days, while the award dinners were shortened from what had typically been a four-hour affair to 75-minute ceremonies. The producers also simplified the look of the nighttime award shows, mounting 20 flat-screen TVs to the walls to form a digital gallery of the work from finalists and using only white furniture to decorate the dining area.

As a way to entice more attendees and build the event's profile, the production team also brought in some big names, including Grammy-winning singer Pharrell Williams and Penny Baldwin, Yahoo's senior vice president of integrated marketing and brand management, for the conference sessions. In a first for the Clios, celebrities served as the hosts for the awards: Actor John Michael Higgins was the M.C. for Wednesday's ceremony, and comedian Rob Riggle was the presenter at Thursday's show.

This year the Clios saw a total of 750 attendees, up from 500 last year, and plans for next year could include a televised special.

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