In season four of the hit show “Mad Men,” Don Draper accepts a CLIO on behalf of his advertising firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. It’s a big deal: the CLIO Awards are known as the big Kahuna competition in the world of advertising awards. It means a lot to win.
But taking home a CLIO statue isn’t just the stuff of fiction. And now’s exactly the right time to try to win a CLIO of your own.
The competition recently opened for submissions, with the next deadline on May 20 and the final, drop-dead deadline June 17. You have lots of time to prep your entries and it’s very important that you use that time wisely.
There are CLIO Awards categories encompassing just about every medium in the world of advertising, including Interactive, Direct Mail, Content & Contact, Film, Print, Out of Home, Innovative Media, Integrated Campaign, Radio, Design and Public Relations. The competition also includes a section of categories focused specifically on celebrating the use of music in advertising (aptly titled CLIO Music).
With more categories than ever before, that means there are now more opportunities than ever to win.
Here are some insider facts, tricks and tips we’ve picked up over the years that might help you as you begin to strategize your next move:
- First and foremost, CLIO is about honoring the best of the best. While it may be tempting to try your odds at entering several different pieces of creative, we suggest you stick with only your strongest work. The judging process is very selective, with fewer than 10 percent of submissions withstanding the initial rounds of judging. From there, juries re-evaluate the surviving submissions to create a list of finalists, and then Gold, Silver and Bronze statue winners. Less than 5 percent of all entries receive a statue, and less than 1 percent receive the coveted Gold CLIO. Each jury also has the option of awarding the highest honor, the Grand CLIO, to one truly exceptional piece of work from the chosen Gold statue winners in each media type.
- While you should only enter your best work and competition is fierce, don’t be intimidated. You’ll never know how competitive a piece of work might be unless you try entering it. Be proud of your work and assemble your entry so that it effectively tells a concise and sincere story of why you think it’s something unique and special. And beware: We mean it when we say “sincere.” Judges can smell a retrofit of an entry from a mile away, and know when you’re feeding them baloney.
- Take a moment to review past years’ winners to get a good idea of what qualifies as a CLIO-worthy entry. You can see winners from 2015 by visiting this link: www.clioawards.com/archive.
- Follow the directions. While some competitions are pretty forgiving about giving you a second chance to clean up a write-up or resubmit creative in the proper dimensions, don’t count on this same treatment from the CLIO Awards. Take your time and pay attention to detail. Double-check to make sure that all your the files are the correct sizes, that links are not broken, and that your entry is completed, proofread and edited. (We suggest you watch the helpful “how to” videos CLIO has on its website: www.clioawards.com/entries/howtoenter.cfm.)
- The CLIO Awards give you the option to include a 300-word written synopsis with your entry, and we highly recommend you include one. This is your chance to provide context for your entry and explain why it’s CLIO-worthy.
- A common and simple trick we utilize is writing the case study in a word processor in advance, instead of in the “synopsis” box on the entry software. This way, you have all of the tools you need to quickly make edits as you write, and can more easily share your write-up with colleagues.
- Price varies by category and deadline. The longer you wait, the more expensive your invoice will be. To save money, submit your entries sooner rather than later.
- The earlier you begin the process of submitting your entries, the better. That’s because as deadline creeps nearer and nearer, the submission system tends to slow down due to the increased web traffic of other people who’ve waited to submit. Trust us: You absolutely want to avoid running into this problem if you can. Try to give yourself a day or two to ensure that everything makes it in on time.
- Remember: Any CLIO recognition is a big deal. Being named a finalist is still a win—even if you don’t take home a statue—because it shows your work was a top contender out of thousands of entries. And it’s a great incentive to come back next year with something even better.
Good luck to all who enter—and keep being creative!
Client Services Manager Caitlin M.F. Hornshaw brings her experience to the blog twice a month, where she gives advice on awards, working with Brave Dog, and more.