The Clio New Year Top 10: Our Favorite Ads of 2017

The Clio Awards staff look back at the campaigns that left the biggest impression

We’ve spent all year immersed in the best the advertising industry has to offer, so we know what makes a campaign or creative work truly stand out. With 2017 (finally) at an end and the promise of 2018 ahead of us, the Clio Awards staff have taken a look back at 10 pieces that really spoke to us and left us hopeful and excited to see what the new year has to offer.

So join us in raising a glass to those brands and agencies that didn’t….drop the ball. (Oh c’mon…)

10. Minnesota Vikings - “Skol Chant”

This Clio Sports Gold-winning effort highlighted the spirit, camaraderie, dedication and, of course, sense of fun that fuels sports fans. As the Vikings organization itself put it when it submitted the piece for consideration, “To unify an entire stadium in a single moment for one common purpose is not a simple task.  Fans are intelligent.  They know when to cheer on defense, when to be quiet on offense and the times to boo a poor call.  Fans also know when something is forced upon them and they won’t change their behavior on a whim.”

Skol Chant Debuts at U S Bank Stadium

9. Burns & Smiles – “Halloween”

Senior judging manager Ashley Falls felt a special connection to this piece, earning it a spot in her personal top 10. “I loved this ad because it’s easy for us to overlook the challenges that so many face on a daily basis. On Halloween this year, I found myself thinking about the man in the video and I think I always will in the years moving forward. His story was heartbreaking, but I’m so thankful that he was brave enough to share it because it so beautifully depicted the struggles of burn victims. This is one of those ads that will stay with me for a lifetime.” The spot earned a 2017 Gold Clio.

Burns and Smiles - the fight of the burn victims to change other people's look

8.  Budweiser - “Born the Hard Way”

At a time when the immigration debate was raging in the United States, Budweiser—the beer brand synonymous with flag-waving, gung-ho All American-ism—reminded the world that its founder was, himself, a German immigrant named Adolphus Busch. Clio senior marketing associate Matt Doyle singled this spot out in particular for its bold relevance. “Unlike past years, Budweiser created a more serious super bowl ad for 2017, and I liked this change of direction.”

Budweiser 2017 Super Bowl Commercial | “Born The Hard Way”

7. The New York Times – “Truth is Hard”

You don’t have to dig too deeply to uncover a theme around our ten picks. This year was an volatile year, where people felt under siege and where panic and confusion had taken the reins. The president’s personal vendetta against journalists in particular rose to the surface in troubling ways, prompting this rebuke from the New York Times. “With the current state of politics, Donald Trump’s presidency and ‘Fake News’ buzzing around, this New York Times ad was a great way to keep its current customers engaged and drive more engagement to the brand and its message,” says Ads of the World community manager Melissa Gotleib-“Airing the simple, yet powerful spot during the 89th Academy Awards, was a great move as well.”

TV Commercial | The New York Times | The Truth Is Hard

6. Essie, “Essie’s Naming Department”

But it wasn’t all political doom and gloom! Essie managed to mine its FAQ’s for hilarious video content. “With this campaign Essie took an insight--consumer curiosity around nail polish names --and produced entertaining and amusing content in ‘snackable’ videos,” says Clio director of judging Emily Seal.

essie's naming department: ep. 1 - how essie named 'jamaica me crazy'

5. Volvo – “Moments”

No self-respecting “best of” list would be complete without a genuine heartstring-tugger. Luckily, Volvo came through in the clutch with a spot that combines an inspiring and uplifting message with a chilling reminder that safety is of the utmost importance. It’s a rare feat to pull off…

The New Volvo XC60 - Moments

4. Budweiser – “#LightUpTheNation”

For a beer brand that once renamed itself “America,” it’s refreshing to see how easily it can put aside its red, white, blue-ness to embrace the culture of our neighbors to the north. There is nothing more uniquely Canadian than the sport of hockey, and the King of Beers showed it is just as comfortable on the ice as it is on the gridiron. This was such a unique (and Clio-winning) idea – aligning the brand’s iconic color with the country’s flag and organically tying it into hockey’s goal light,” says Seal. “Beyond that they were able to creatively thread the idea across multiple mediums – touching consumers on a large scale level as well as intimately.”

Budweiser Light Up The Nation Case Study Video

3. Tide - “#BradshawStain”

Taking a simple idea to the extreme usually makes for great Super Bowl spots, and Tide’s hilarious campaign built around football icon Terry Bradshaw and an unfortunate barbeque sauce stain scored big. “The idea and execution behind this ad for Tide created by Saatchi & Saatchi New York was pure genius. All in all, it was successful stunt that kept its audience during the 2017 Super Bowl (and myself) on their toes. I also may or may not have watched it multiple times, asking myself how the light-hearted and hilarious ad was executed so well,” says Gotlieb.  

Tide Super Bowl Commercial 2017 Terry Bradshaw, Jeffrey Tambor

2. Bleacher Report – “Super Team: A Warriors Musical”

When the Clio judging team admits to rewatching a video for pure entertainment, you know it must be something special. This animated tribute to the Golden State Warriors was irreverent and fun and, yes, endlessly re-watchable.

Superteam: A Warriors Musical

1. The Recording Academy – “It Was You/Believe In Music/The GRAMMYs”

The shifting sands of the music industry have seen the old ways—record promotion, artist development, music sales—scrapped, disrupted, and completely reimagined in ways that have had both positive and negative effects. Over the past few years, the iconic GRAMMY awards have had their relevance questioned—so kudos to them for taking this head on and creating a stirring campaign that, as Seal puts it, “took an iconic moment and made it an inspirational calling, telling a story of what the GRAMMYs represent.” 

It Was You | Believe in Music | 59th GRAMMYs