Design Project Love: Leo Burnett’s CLIO Awards Campaign

Creatives fancy themselves as, well, creative. They’re not quite like everyone else. But it turns out there’s some pretty common experiences surrounding agency life. And Leo Burnett tapped into these shared behaviors and experiences to create a humorous campaign for the CLIO Awards called “Anatomy of a Creative.”

These print ads cut a single object—say a champagne bottle or take-out container—into pieces that become a pie chart of sorts. These infographics reveal everything from what creatives do in meetings and wear at awards shows to how they celebrate CLIO wins. The photos are gorgeous, but it’s the hilarious copy that’s capable of winning over even the most jaded creative.


Let’s just review a few facts about you and your colleagues that you may or may not know: 36% of you argue with your partner over a headline as if arguing with wife about who washes the dishes; 7% wonder if there will be free sandwiches during meetings; 3% sport a Mohawk to desperately prove they’re not sellouts.


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And those are a just a few of the choice “facts” from these print ads, which appeared in Adweek. “We probably wrote hundreds of lines,” says art director Pablo Jimenez. “Then we showed it to people around the agency, and we just whittled down to the ones that were funnier, more meaningful and kind of showcasing the agency life and what creators do.”

The ads are even more impressive when you learn they were created with what the Leo Burnett team calls a “post digital” approach.

That champagne bottle sliced into pieces isn’t fancy Photoshop work. The team cut a real bottle with a saw then glued the pieces onto a plastic wall. Each section was sealed on the bottom then filled with champagne. A fan blowing at the whole set-up made the celebratory shot possible.

“We’ve gone past an age where you can do everything,” says art director Doug Burnett. “So when you can do it in real life, there’s a real power and strength in the craft element, and it makes a much greater story out of the image.” The takeout container and coffee cup were also cut into pieces for the ads, and the What Creatives Wear ad features three different models.



If you stare at the ads long enough, you’ll be rewarded with rich, sometimes Easter-egg-like, details. The takeout container ad includes a cracked-open fortune cookie, and the fortune inside reads, “Work hard tonight, it’ll die in focus groups tomorrow.” The building on the side of the takeout box includes hidden CLIO logos and award statues. In the coffee cup ad, there’s real steam floating off the top of the page.

There’s also beauty and power in the simplicity of each ad. The main graphic—and its percentage facts—draw you in. And a simple headline like “What Creatives Do in Meetings” drives the point across. Additional copy is kept to a minimum with a date to submit entries and the website address. It’s just enough to capture your imagination and tell you how and when to enter.

For the awards ceremony itself in New York on May 25, we’d like to make plans to hang out with the 28% of you who, after winning a CLIO, stagger to hotel with help from sober, non-CLIO winning creative. We’d be glad to toast your win with a glass of bubbly.

Project Credits

Campaign: Anatomy of a Creative
Agency: Leo Burnett
Client: CLIO Awards
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Tutssel
Chief Creative Officer: Susan Credle
Executive Creative Directors: Jon Wyville, Dave Lowe
Art Directors/Copywriters: Pablo Jimenez, Doug Burnett
Account Director: Lauren Gibbs
Account Executives: Riley Bernardin, Marie Bubendorff-Gomez
Producer: Christopher Cochrane

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