Leo Burnett Chicago Scores 4 Grand Clios For Change the Ref's "The Lost Class"
Patricia (l) and Manuel Oliver accept the Advertiser of the Year honor on behalf of Change the Ref during the 62nd Annual Clio Awards at the Ziegfeld Ballroom on Thursday, April 28, 2022, in New York. The Olivers founded Change the Ref, which earned four Grand Clios for “The Lost Class” campaign created by Leo Burnett Chicago (photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for CLIO Awards/AP Images).
Area 23, BBH USA, Epic Games, McCann Paris, Ogilvy, Publicis Italy and R/GA also earn Grand Clio distinction
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The Clio Awards unveiled the winners of its most prestigious prize during a live ceremony last night (4/28) at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in NYC. 2022 Grand Clio Awards were handed out to Area 23, BBH USA, McCann Paris, Ogilvy, and R/GA, in addition to Leo Burnett Chicago, which took home four Grand Clios in Print, Direct, Experience/Activation, and Integrated campaign. 

The Burnett Grand Clio wins all came for Change the Ref’s “The Lost Class” campaign, which includes an anthem video--directed by Bryan Buckley of Hungry Man--that takes us to a strange graduation ceremony where there’s no audience, just thousands of empty chairs representing the 3,000-plus students who did not graduate the past year. They are instead dead, the victims of gun violence. Delivering the commencement address is an unlikely speaker, David Keene, former president and current board member of the NRA, which has used its power and influence to block stronger background checks and common-sense gun reform which could have saved many of these graduates’ lives. Keene believed his speech was for the graduation ceremony of a local Las Vegas high school, James Madison Academy. Instead Keene comes out onto the stage to find himself addressing empty seats about the bright futures they would never have.

Change the Ref also earned Clio distinction as Advertiser of the Year. That honor was accepted by Manuel and Patricia Oliver who founded Change the Ref in the memory of their son Joaquin who was a victim of the Parkland High School shooting. Manuel brought the house to tears with a powerful call to action for advertisers to use their influence to prevent gun violence, stating: “The advertising industry is the most powerful force because you can change the future by telling the truth.”

Leo Burnett won Clio’s Agency of the Year honor while Hungry Man was named Production Company of the Year.

In total, the Change the Ref campaign earned 22 Clio trophies this year. (Gold, Silver and Bronze Clio recipients was reported on here last week. Click here for a full list)

Other highlights
To kick off this year’s ceremony, Clio Awards CEO Nicole Purcell was joined by Kevin Swanepoel, CEO of The One Club for Creativity. In a rare moment, the leaders from two global awards competitions came together on one stage to pay tribute to Tony Gulisano, who served in several positions at the Clio Awards for over 26 years, including managing director. Gulisano was the global chief growth officer of The One Club when he passed away in March 2022.

The Clio Visionary Award presented by Verizon was handed out to director, writer, and producer Peter Berg by friend and collaborator Diego Scotti, Verizon’s chief marketing officer. When introducing the award, Scotti remarked: “If you need to tell a story about everyday people from any walk of life and from any place on earth—people who, when thrust into extraordinary circumstances, perform extraordinary feats of courage, heart, humanity, grit, and grace—people who inspire us, then Peter Berg is hands down the finest and most gifted storyteller in the industry.” 

Also accepting a specialty award this evening was legendary makeup artist Dame Pat McGrath, who received the 2022 Honorary Clio Award for her creative contributions to popular culture. Following a touching and personal introduction from Celia Ellenberg, global network lead- beauty & wellness director, Vogue U.S., McGrath took the stage amidst a standing ovation and said: “I constantly want to challenge my eye with newness, and infuse each look with individuality and diversity that is unlike anything previously seen. This industry, these friends, these collaborators, this room, is what allows me both the freedom and the forum to keep moving forward.”

A new specialty award competition for 2023 was introduced by Roland Hamilton, SVP, licensing, for Jukin Licensing, a subsidiary of TMB. Entries for The Jukin Licensing Emerging Creative Award will open in September 2022 and will task entrants with creating a campaign featuring user-generated content from their vast library.

Grand Clio rundown
Grand Clio winners went beyond Leo Burnett. Here’s a rundown of the 2022 Grand Clio Award winners:

  • Branded Entertainment & Content: “Sick Beats” by Area 23, An IPG Health Company for SICK BEATS by Woojer
  • Creative Effectiveness: “Courage is Beautiful” by Ogilvy for Dove
  • Direct: “The Lost Class” by Leo Burnett Chicago for Change the Ref, Inc.
  • Experiential/Activation: “The Lost Class” by Leo Burnett Chicago for Change the Ref, Inc.
  • Fashion & Beauty: “Fashion’s Foray into the Metaverse” by Epic Games for Fortnite and Balenciaga
  • Innovation: “Reddit- Superb Owl” by R/GA for Reddit, Inc.
  • Integrated Campaign: “The Lost Class” by Leo Burnett Chicago for Change the Ref, Inc.
  • Out Of Home: “Shutter Ads” by Publicis Italy for Heineken
  • Print: “The Lost Class” by Leo Burnett Chicago for Change the Ref, Inc.
  • Public Relations: “The Bread Exam” by McCann Paris for Spinneys and the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation
  • Social Media: “Google: Black-Owned Friday” by BBH USA for Google

“Of the Year” honors
“Of the Year” honors were presented to those that collected the most statue points across all mediums. The 2022 “Of the Year” winners are as follows:

  • Advertiser of the Year: Change the Ref, Inc.
  • Agency of the Year: Leo Burnett Chicago
  • Independent Agency of the Year: Rethink
  • Network of the Year: BBDO Worldwide
  • Production Company of the Year: Hungry Man


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