Advertising The Collapse Of Clio

Snafus and intrigue make a mockery of an industry's most prestigious award

It began badly. On a balmy June Thursday, eminences from the world of advertising arrived at a Manhattan auditorium for the first round of 1991's Clio Awards, the industry's high-profile, hotly pursued "Oscars." But Clio's tuxedoed officials were oddly absent, as were the tickets that some attendees had paid $125 for.

Things got worse. The caterer was pressed into service as an emcee. When no script appeared, print-ad winners were asked to identify themselves as slides of their work appeared on a screen, sometimes backward or out of focus.

It got worse still. Upon hearing there was no list of radio-commercial...

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