The Clio Awards unveiled the winners of its most prestigious prize during a live ceremony at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in NYC. Leo Burnett Chicago took home four Grand Clios in Print, Direct, Experience/Activation, and Integrated campaign.
The Burnett Grand Clio wins all came for Change the Ref’s The Lost Class campaign, which includes an anthem video–directed by Bryan Buckley of Hungry Man–that takes us to a strange graduation ceremony where there’s no audience, just thousands of empty chairs representing the 3,000-plus students who did not graduate the past year. They are instead dead, the victims of gun violence. Delivering the commencement address is an unlikely speaker, David Keene, former president and current board member of the NRA, which has used its power and influence to block stronger background checks and common-sense gun reform which could have saved many of these graduates’ lives. Keene believed his speech was for the graduation ceremony of a local Las Vegas high school, James Madison Academy. Instead Keene comes out onto the stage to find himself addressing empty seats about the bright futures they would never have.
Change the Ref also earned Clio distinction as Advertiser of the Year. That honor was accepted by Manuel and Patricia Oliver who founded Change the Ref in the memory of their son Joaquin Oliver who was a victim of the Parkland High School shooting. Manuel brought the house to tears with a powerful call to action for advertisers to use their influence to prevent gun violence, stating: “The advertising industry is the most powerful force because you can change the future by telling the truth.”
Leo Burnett won Clio’s Agency of the Year honor while Hungry Man was named Production Company of the Year.