A bit belated, but here are some pics from our adventures in Vegas.

Now that casino security is far away and we have returned to our normal lives, we can get around to answering all those pressing questions.

Who was behind Crash the Clios? — We are Patrice Speed and Chris Ryan. We met at a freelance job in San Francisco and then found ourselves on a break just in time for awards season. Facing an ever-more competitive job market, we decided to go straight to where the action was. That was the birth of Crash the Clios.

How did you get in? — In the process of doing some shameless self promotion, we contacted the blog, AgencySpy. Their lead spy decided he wanted to lend a hand to our cause. He told us that we could act as temporary reporters for Agency Spy, instructed us on how to get press passes, and in exchange, we granted him use of our tweets and blog posts as Clios coverage for his own blog. Win-win for both of us, but especially for us. So we changed our outfits and headed down to press check-in. We were able to convince them that we were Agency Spy correspondants and 10 minutes later, we had ourselves two shiny press passes. Just like that, we were in! (Please don’t look at this as a how-to on getting into events without paying, that’s not our reason for writing this.)

Was it worth it? — A thousand times, Yes!

What did you learn from this experience? —Many things. That how you put yourself out there is just as important as what you have to show when you get there (in your work and yourself). That nothing is insurmountable with a little creativity, wit, oh… and those cojones we mentioned earlier. That advertising is definitely charging into the future and we feel poised to take the reigns. That getting started is half the battle.  That with a little patience you can pull off anything. And, that we can be game changers.

How will this benefit you? — That’s the million dollar question. We don’t know the answer to this yet, but we’ll keep you posted. If you want to be a part of answering this question, check out our work here (Chris) and here (Patrice) and give us a call.

Will you ever crash again? — Though it was fun, we will never crash the Clios again. Next time we’ll buy our tickets. But if you have an event you would like crashed, shoot us an email.

Looks like we made it

May 15, 2009

As our time here at the Clios comes to a close, it’s time to wrap up our story.

Yesterday got off to a slow start after the previous night’s yahootinis, but picked up quickly. We decided to mix up our outfits for the moving image awards so we did a little impromptu shopping. A word to all who might have a trip to vegas planned in the near future- pick your cabs wisely. There are some great cabby’s here but there are also some NY rejects who have found solace in navigating a town car through the desert.

When we got back from shopping, we headed down to the pool to enjoy the cabanas furnished by the really nice people at Rackspace. Though there were some interesting panel discussions taking place today, we decided not to press our luck after our attendance of yesterday’s panels where we stuck out just a bit too much for comfort. We watched the Goodby peeps frolic in the pool and witnessed one of last night’s student clio winners making it to his 30th hour of partying. We think it was part of his interview for CP+B.  After we had our fill of sun, we headed up to relax for a bit before starting our evening. We realized in our overly-relaxed state that maybe it was time to up the ante on this crashing business. Around 4pm, we put a proposal out into the twitterdom to accept awards for any agencies who weren’t going to be able to make it to tonight’s event. We only got one response, unfortunately, and they’d already delegated someone to accept their award. What a shame, too, as so many people were not there to claim their statues.

We started our evening by coming out to some of our followers who had offered to buy us a drink. An offer we can’t refuse! This was our first official outing and the last night, so we felt safe that at that point the chances of getting kicked out were much lower.

The awards were amazing. There were the icons for classic brands. The Nestle Quick Bunny did catch one of us with a pretty fast right hook to the eye, but by the time we took our polaroids with Morris the 9Lives cat it felt better. The 50th anniversary Clio celebration finished in true Las Vegas style with a live performance by Barry Manilow, the jingle genius. Some of our favorite spots of the night include Wego soap, the Canal movie channel spots, and the film festival spots. Then a living, breathing, Clio rose above the audience and performed for the crowd below. And as quickly as it began, it was over. Congratulations to BBDO for taking home the Clio for Network of the Year, their worldwide prowress was felt throughout the awards. Congratulations to CP+B for getting agency of the year. Also congrats to Goodby, Silverstein and Partners on the induction of “Got Milk” into the Advertising Hall of Fame.

Clio

Then it was off to the after party to get our network on. We were caught up in a whirlwind of an evening. It started slow, with people tentatively trickling and segregating themselves off in groups. But as the evening wore on and the drinks kept flowing, the dance floor filled up and they even extended the closing time by and hour to let people keep partying. Our main goal was just to meet people and we did. One of our drink benefactors from before the show got excited and tipped AdWeek off to us. Guess if our cover wasn’t blown before, it was then. We figured it was the end of the event, anyway, and we could be honest about who we are.

Chatted with Helen for a bit, the infamous AdBroad, who’s tweets kept everyone up-to-date on what was happening this week. We love her MadMen twiter characters and it was great meeting her this week. We give our “Best Dressed” award to Michelle Curran. There were many other faces and when we stumbled to the 24 hour diner in the early hours of the morning we were many business cards richer.

We were asked last night: “Why crash the CLIOS?” as if this awards show wasn’t really worth the time. But we think it is.

All in all, it was a successful week. We came. we saw. we crashed.

Second day wrap up

May 14, 2009

Yesterday was an amazing coup. After being turned away from Ago to watch the honor of Dan Weiden we were mulling over how to really make this trip worthwhile. We definitely had some cash to get into the afterparty, but there were speakers and awards we also wanted to see.

Mid-morning the real deal went down, two Clio-goers- presumably hungover and on a bender- left their passes on the bar at the Hard Rock. We scooped them up and rushed to our room to congratulate ourselves on our good luck.

OK, that’s not how it went down at all, but while we’re still in the midst of pulling this off, it’s best not to totally blow our cover. Suffice it to say that with legitimate event passes we are now unstoppable! (Hopefully.) Like kids in a candy store we game-planned on where our time would best be spent. After pulling up our event time/location spreadsheet, and a few floor plans of the hotel we decided a quick visit to the pool and a few of the panels would be a great way to pass the day.

We had just assumed with the masses of Clio-goers it would be effortless to blend in and mingle. Another thing we didn’t count on, though, is the turnout.  There simply aren’t that many people here. Is this a sign of the economy? Many people we talked to last night mentioned agencies simply don’t have the spare cash right now to send people to an awards show. Or if they do, they can’t justify the spending. Last night’s awards ceremony confirmed this, with many awards going unaccepted. This seems to reinforce one of our decisions to go on this trip: lack of funds.

Poolside

By the pool we watched the students who would later claim bronze, silver and gold Clios enjoy the vegas sun, we chatted with people about whether Las Vegas or South Beach was a better locale for the events (the votes seem split: some people miss south beach, some people came specifically because it’s in Vegas). We also overheard a few hushed comments on bluetooths about “Yeah, they’re a team. They’ll do anything to get in.” Oops.

Performers

We laid low during the awards ceremony, hanging out toward the back chatting with the JWT recruiter and sipping red wine. The blogger known as Roger Sterling ended up sitting with us. All of the work shown was impressive. It’s exciting to see our industry pushing the envelope into new territory. Everyone we talked to agreed that the awards went to deserving campaigns. We were particularly thrilled to see a grand clio go to a German campaign that involved people crashing culture events. Hmmm….

After the awards was the purple-themed poolside soiree. The mood seemed subdued, but still lively. People chatted, scooped up the Yahootinis. We steered clear of those, as they appeared to be potentially CLM-inducing (RE: Career Limiting Move) or at least hangover worthy. Bikini-clad Hard Rock girls served appetizers and we made the rounds.

clioparty

The El Salvadoreans were joyus over the win of their U2 campaign, and many congrats were bandied about amongst attendees. While there was a good cross-section of media companies, creatives, the infamous dancer from the #1 YouTube video of all time, and Yahoo employees, it still seemed to be an intimate crowd. We stopped by the tweet-up for a second to meet fellow Clio twitters (did you know that was us?) and then bid our goodnights to all we’d chatted with.

All-in-all it was an exciting day and we’re looking forward to more schmoozing tonight.

Two days in.

May 14, 2009

Too many YahooTinis have us spinning. The night was a success (for the award winners and us) but we’ll refrain from blogging until we’ve slept on it.

See you tomorrow!

The view from inside

May 14, 2009

We recently attended our first event here in Las Vegas. It was a panel discussion on the difference between a branded utility and brand advertising. It was great to finally hear some amazing minds debate the usefulness of these emerging marketing venues. There were so many thoughts flying around the stage, it was difficult to keep up but we wanted to share some of the highlights of the discussion with everyone.

The first thing that caught our attention was that all three panelists agreed that the definition of what constitutes a Branded Utility needs to be broadened. As of now, when somebody uses the term branded utility, the definition sort of stops at iPhone apps. Everyone was in agreement that the real definition of a branded utility should be it’s something that solves people’s problems.

The next topic that led out of this discussion was the integration of Advertising with Product/Industrial Design and PR. The panel proved that Advertising at some point changed. Historically, ideas that now fall under the design or PR umbrellas used to part of our job as advertisers. This has led to advertising not solving people’s problems anymore.  Social Media and branded content are once again working to bridge the gap between these areas of specialization.  This was an interesting point that spurred us into questioning why collaboration doesn’t happen more often. Crispin, Porter, and Bogusky have figured it out. They have Industrial Designers in house, and after that, well that’s pretty much where the list ends when talking about agencies who have embraced the collaboration idea. When Christopher Kief mentioned this in the discussion, it caught Faris Yakob, Chief Tech Strategists at McCann, off-guard. I think that displays the gap in thinking within advertising at the moment.

As young creatives, we have never thought differently from what was said during this forum session, so we are wondering…Why is this so difficult for agencies to implement? Is it that their clients are the ones holding them back from stronger branded utility, or is it our industry getting in the way of itself and not being able to look past the outdated view of Advertising that ECD’s and GCD’s still hold onto? We don’t know what the answer is but we do know that it’s not rocket science, its simple common sense.

With the closing of the discussion, we are both excited to see what work wins awards during tonight’s emerging media awards show. We wish all the finalists luck and we will keep you all posted on the rest of tonight’s events.

Look what we got

May 13, 2009

Go time.

Come find us.

The Graces of Vegas

May 13, 2009

Today was by no means an encouraging day. In our excitment over meeting the greatest minds in advertising,  the 50th anniversary celebration and our impending Las Vegas adventure we overlooked one small detail:

CASINO SECURITY.

Our excitement overshadowed a glaring truth. Casino security are good at their job. As they should be. But hey, we’re not here to steal any money, we’re just here to steal some hearts and time from our favorite Mad Men (sorry all the Twitter action has us obsessed). However, we don’t think the bouncers of the Hard Rock halls differentiate between the two.

In any case, we spent a fair amount of time by the pool today, and got to know the Hard Rock in all its desert glory. We even ventured onto the strip where we were briefly caught up in a film set. (Was that the new Old Spice commercial being shot?) However, we didn’t want to lose focus on the task at hand: getting into the most amazing advertising awards show in the world.

Our hurdles were admitedly daunting:

First of all, we have no agency sponsoring us. Every dime for this journey comes out of our very own unemployed pockets.

Second, there are no doppelgangers attending the conference that we could impersonate.

Third, our bag of disguises did not contain shiny laminates with our names printed on them.

Fourth, did we mention the security?

Despite all of this, we kept our heads up and our hopes high. There must be some event that would let us partake of their advertising goodness; some lecture that deemed us worthy of participation. But then the reception for the Communication Awards made it abundantly clear: we were NOT GETTING IN.

Ok, Ok. Dejected, we hoofed it across the street to Johnny Rocket’s for a quick bite in non-casino setting. What could we do? We’d come all this way only to find our dreams shattered. But we are smart. We are resilliant. WE ARE ADVERTISERS. There is always another way to look at the story, another angle to approach it from.

We gave one last effort for the evening. An empty poker room showed that the after party was not yet underway, but we posted at the tables by the door, free gambling cocktails in hand. There were the bouncers, as scary as ever. And without a laminate or wristband to our name we cowered. We tried flirting, we tried sneaking in and as the winners streamed into the lounge for their congratulatory cocktails, we slinked away again, to do what any good vistor does in Vegas when they are defeated: We gambled.

As luck would have it, the slots were smiling on us tonight. We won just enough between the two of us to buy one $175 ticket each to tomorrow night’s pool-side after party.

MONEY MONEY MONEYMore MONEY

We may not bear witness to the fantastic, boundary-pushing new media awards, but we can be there to slap the winners on the back. And convince them we are their future statue bearers. Tomorrow is another day, and anything is possible in Vegas.

So it begins

May 12, 2009

We arrived in one piece in the sweltering desert heat. It’s. A little quiet right now. People must be settling in, as are we. At our own peril we may try to charm the security at the casino or even try to score a coveted laminate badge. But this is just the beginning…

Twittering

May 11, 2009

We won’t always be able to blog on the fly at the Clio Awards. That’s why there’s twitter, of course. Follow us on our exploits and see if we’re pulling anything off.

Crash the Clios on Twitter.