How do you define an ad? With each passing year, the answer gets more complex—and more interesting. A burger coupon that sends you to a rival’s restaurant? A set of tampons sold as literature? Hieroglyphics that describe a guitar amp going to 11?
Looking at the gold winners at this year’s Clio Awards, it’s clear that today’s most celebrated advertising often doesn’t sound like advertising at all. And for consumers exhausted by a lifelong, nonstop blitz of branded messaging, that’s probably a good thing.
The awards program this week announced 105 golds doled out by its 2019 jurors. Below, you can check out some of the top winners from the U.S. and around the world.
Burger King’s “The Whopper Detour,” which was the year’s most celebrated campaign at the Cannes Lions (taking home Grand Prix honors in Titanium, Direct and Mobile) continued its awards dominance at the Clios, where it won five golds.
The campaign from FCB New York, which counterintuitively offered a 1-cent Whopper coupon to those willing to drive up to rival McDonald’s and activate it via the BK mobile app, won two gold Clios in Digital/Mobile, one in Digital/Mobile/Social Technique, one in Experiential/Events and one in Direct. Burger King global CMO Fernando Machado has also described it as one of the brand’s most effective campaigns ever.
Tying for the most golds at five was Berlin agency Scholz & Friends’ “The Tampon Book: A Book Against Tax Discrimination.” The clever packaging campaign drew attention to unfairly high 19% “luxury” taxes on everyday feminine products such as tampons and evaded Germany’s tax by selling tampons inside a book (taxed at just 7%).
The campaign, which is part of a recent trend in protest packaging aimed at calling out discriminatory taxes, won three golds in Public Relations, one in Branded Content and one in Direct.
Racking up four golds was Tribeca Film Festival’s “Great Stories Are Timeless” from DDB New York, which converted three modern pop-culture icons into hieroglyphics. Working with an Egyptologist, the agency retold the stories of Apocalypse Now, The Simpsons and This Is Spinal Tap through ancient artistic techniques.
“Great Stories Are Timeless” won three golds in Print & Out of Home Technique and one gold in Out of Home.
Adidas’ “Billie Jean King Your Shoes” campaign, which partnered with the tennis legend to encourage more women and girls to take up sports, won a total of four golds.
Honoring the 45th anniversary of King’s “Battle of the Sexes” win against Bobby Riggs in 1973, the campaign from TBWA\Chiat\Day New York took home golds in Branded Content, Direct, Experiential/Events and Innovation.
Winning three golds in the Public Relations category was Aeromexico’s “A World Without Borders,” best known for the “DNA Discounts” offered by the airline for some Americans whose DNA tests showed signs of a Mexican lineage.
Also taking home three golds was Leo Burnett Madrid’s “The Time We Have Left” from Pernod Ricard liqueur brand Ruavieja. The campaign estimated the number of times two people would see each other again while both are alive (based on life expectancy, current frequency of visits, etc.), highlighting that there’s always less time together than we think.
The Ruavieja campaign won golds in Branded Content, Social Media and Public Relations.
Continuing its successful streak at this year’s awards circuit, AMV BBDO’s “Viva La Vulva” from Essity feminine brands (sold under Bodyform, Libresse and other brand names around the world) won three golds: Branded Entertainment, Film and Integrated Campaign.
For its Super Bowl-adjacent “Broadway the Rainbow” stunt, which staged a one-time branded musical centered on Skittles, DDB Chicago took home three golds, one each in Audio Technique, Branded Entertainment and Experiential/Events.