Jerry Seinfeld, Blondie, Pharrell Williams Honored at Sarcastic, Self-Aware Clio Awards

Courtesy of the Clio Awards
Jerry Seinfeld

"I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-earned earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy"

"We're here to celebrate you — you should be a little more f—ing excited!" said Whoopi Goldberg to a less-than-enthused crowd while kicking off the 55th annual Clio Awards, held at New York City's Cipriani Wall Street on Wednesday night. "It's kind of like being at the Oscars — sometimes you don't need to be to cool for school … you can smile, it's OK! You can whoop it up! This is your night, enjoy it. You don't have to be like the actors, you can actually have a good f—ing time. ... You gotta learn to have a little fun with your industry."

As a self-proclaimed fan of advertising, the hilarious host spent the evening poking fun at the room full of executives, repeatedly telling them to lighten up and have some fun. "Was the Meadowlands booked, or is this the only place you can fit 400 creative directors' heads in a room at the same time?" she sassed.

Goldberg also seized the mic'd opportunity to call out a few firms for not featuring her in campaigns. Of being left out of Nike's hat-tipping tribute to retiring Yankee player Derek Jeter, she reminded, "I'm a New Yorker, too — I didn't see me in the commercial. I wouldn't even have had to say anything; I would've tipped my goddamn dread! Help a girl out." When Forsman & Bodenfors won the Content & Contact award for their Volvo Trucks series starring Jean Claude van Damme's epic split, Goldberg joked, "It's nice to be celebrated for being able to spread your legs, right?" And she polled the room to find someone who works with Cadillac, saying she's completely confused by Lincoln's new spot with a chatty Matthew McConaughey.


 

The awards ceremony took place right in the middle of Advertising Week. "You got a whole week! Black people only got a month," Goldberg joked, later noting of the industry's lack of women and African-Americans, "All the black folks, stand up, who are not working. ...  One whole table? I watch Mad Men — are we there yet?!"

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Jerry Seinfeld echoed her self-aware tone when accepting his honorary Clio, or "the award they give you when they don't think you can actually win one, but they think you've done a pretty good job and seem to have been around for quite some time," he joked, kicking off a bit. "I love advertising because I love lying, and in advertising, everything is the way you wish it was. I don't care that it won't actually be like that when I actually get the product being advertised because in between seeing the commercial and owning the thing, I'm happy, and that's all I want. Tell me how great the thing's going to be, I want it, I don't need to be happy all the time! I just want to enjoy the commercial. I want to get the thing — we know the product is going to stink, we know that because we live in the world and we know that everything stinks. We all believe, 'Hey, maybe this one won't stink!' We are a hopeful species — stupid, but hopeful. … I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-earned earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy."

Blondie's Debbie Harry and Chris Stein also took the stage for an honorary award. Harry briefly noted that ads are always using the band's "music from the old days — I'm here to say we have new music!"


 

The evening — which included a menu of asparagus-artichoke salad, beef filet, baby carrots and three-chocolate parfait — continued to spotlight the accelerated integration of music in advertising, as the first-ever Clio music award was given to Pharrell Williams, Iconoclast and We Are From L.A. for the International Day of Happiness campaign. "You never consider an award like this when you're in the studio making music," said Williams in a video message.

Clio and Billboard, in partnership with Shazam, launched three charts noting music's use in television commercials over the past year. At the top of the first-ever ranking was Aloe Blacc, whose track "The Man" was featured in Beats by Dre's "Hear What You Want" ad with Kevin Garnett and Colin Kaepernick. After Blacc performed his hit live, Goldberg joked, "I'll tell everyone you're the man, I'll take you home first and find out! I'm not known for robbing the cradle, but occasionally I will kick a cradle over."


 

Additionally, Washington Olivetto, chairman of WMcCann and chief creative officer of McCann Worldgroup for Latin America and Caribbean, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The evening's attendees also received a record of Olivetto's favorite Brazilian tracks from WMcCann, along with issues of Billboard and AdWeek.

The ceremony closed with the Clio for public relations, won by Always' #LikeAGirl campaign. As the venue's female attendees gave a noticeably loud cheer, Edgar Sandoval, vice president and brand franchise leader of Always Global, spoke on the success of the effort: "Always truly believes that no girl should lose her confidence, especially during puberty. … That is why Always chose to help girls with positive affirmation, starting with a new meaning for 'like a girl.'"

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Suddenly, a female attendee interrupted from her table, "We want to see a girl talking!" which cued Leo Burnett chief creative officer Judy John to share a few words. "Lauren Greenfield, she directed like a girl!" said John. "We set out to change the world, and hopefully this is a start." Nevertheless, Goldberg consoled the interrupted Sandoval, "I'm clapping for you and I'm glad you spoke, and I'm thankful for what you said. We're all in this together!"

See below for the evening's presented awards:

Branded Entertainment & Content
Chipotle Mexican Grill, The Scarecrow
Creative Artists Agency

Innovative Media
British Airways, Magic of Flying
OgilvyOne London

Out of Home
British Airways, Magic of Flying
OgilvyOne London

Direct
Smart Communications, TXTBKS
DDB DM9JaymeSyfu

CLIO Music Digital/Social
Happy, Pharrell Williams — 24 Hours of Happy
Iconoclast

Content & Contact
Volvo Trucks, Live Test Series Integrated Campaign
Forsman & Bodenfors

Engagement
Harvey Nichols, Sorry I Spent it on Myself
adamandeveDDB

Integrated Campaign
Harvey Nichols, Sorry I Spent it on Myself
adamandeveDDB

Film
Guinness, Sapeurs Documentary
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, London

Public Relations
Procter & Gamble — Always, #LikeAGirl   
Leo Burnett Toronto, Chicago, London/Holler

Agency Network of the Year
Ogilvy & Mather

Advertiser of the Year
Guinness

Agency of the Year
Dentsu Tokyo

CLIO Honorary Awards
Jerry Seinfeld
Blondie

CLIO Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Washington Olivetto, chairman of WMcCann and chief creative officer of McCann Worldgroup for Latin America and Caribbean

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee

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