On June 13, 1991, the prestigious Clio Awards for excellence in the selling and marketing industry used to be a night to effect in thoughts – for the whole inferior reasons.
Unlike the dignified affairs of previous years, the ceremonial dinner at Novel York’s Manhattan Center studios descended into what journalist Outing Gabriel called a “crush of muscle and tuxedos” when a mob of web thunder online visitors stormed the stage.
Many of the insurgents — the kind of creatives who brought you the Energizer Bunny, the singing raisins and the Pillsbury Doughboy — grabbed coveted statuettes they hadn’t won.
In his post-mortem for Conceitedness Very top, Gabriel described the debacle as “marketing and marketing’s have ‘Day of the Locust.’ ” A look told Adweek journal it used to be “beyond the beyond-o.” One other attendee when put next the spectacle to “observing piranhas just like the flesh off a cow in a river.”
Now, on the 30th anniversary of the fiasco of a fête, those excited by the ceremony — an annual recount is known as the “Oscars of marketing and marketing” that used to be once featured on AMC’s “Infected Males” — have shared their memories with The Post.
“It went from this aloof, subtle atmosphere to crazy and frenetic,” acknowledged Ron Henderson, a junior copywriter in 1991. “It used to be surreal and ridiculous to peek other folks in suits and ballgowns hiking the stage.”
The celebration used to be organized by then-Clio president Invoice Evans, a multimillionaire with a a penchant for prostitutes and crack cocaine. His mismanagement of the awards used to be attributed to greed, incompetence and even fraud, an accusation that used to be later investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney.
Even before the Thursday night apocalypse, there had been rumblings of bother. Rumors spread all the arrangement in which thru Madison Avenue that the fancy Evans, who infrequently handed himself off because the brother of “Dynasty” massive title Linda Evans, had fled to the Bahamas to dodge his creditors. Practically the handiest fragment of gossip that used to be appropriate used to be the mass resignation of upper than 10 disgruntled Clio workers who went unpaid for a month.
The money silent for the awards, which, at the time, charge $85 to enter and $125 to again, went straight up Evans’ crack pipe. Earlier that year, his erratic behavior used to be challenged by his daughter, Kema Whelan, a member of the Clio group. He spat in her face, and he or she retaliated with a appropriate hook, knocking her dad out wintry.
That spring, Page Six logged a chain of police calls to Evans’ townhouse in Sutton Situation. The pickle scheme the tony house of Henry Kissinger had turn staunch into a drug den.
“A bunch of younger runaways preyed upon very prosperous other folks like Invoice,” acknowledged Tony Gulisano, who had labored at the Clios since 1982. He added, “Earlier than that, he’d correct been an alcoholic — just like the whole industry — but it indubitably by no methodology impacted the industrial. The crack used to be the beginning of the highest.”
On the night that lives in infamy, the buffet used to be catered by the upscale company Sterling Affair. Then co-owned by Stephen Pieretti, whose job enthusiastic schmoozing with celebrities like Tony Bennett, Norman “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf and Cyndi Lauper, it also supplied sumptuous platters to the Plaza and Waldorf Astoria hotels. The boldface names who passe the company’s companies incorporated Donald Trump and Diane Sawyer.
In the slack 1980s, Evans had paid the supplier to effect a reproduction of a 25-foot yacht christened the SS Clio. The spectacular vessel — which had 15,000 runt hooked as much as its sails — grew to was synonymous with the awards ceremony and the excesses of the slack ’80s and early ’90s.
That explicit evening, nonetheless, Pieretti’s characteristic went beyond supervising the hors d’oeuvres.
“We saved looking ahead to Invoice to arrive, but he used to be a no-recount,” he recalled to The Post. After 90 minutes — when all people took plump advantage of the free bar — a frazzled birthday celebration planner requested Pieretti to emcee. He acknowledged, “A caterer will consistently provide protection to the client, so I acknowledged, ‘I will be capable to pull it off.’ ”
Unlucky for him, many of the winners’ list used to be lacking. Slides on a projector showing the a hit entries were the opposite arrangement up or out of focus. Mighty to the annoyance of the increasingly extra restless crowd, the creators of the unidentified radio and print adverts were requested to introduce themselves onstage.
“Finally, I ran out of script,” admitted Pieretti, of Novel Hope, Pennsylvania. “I acknowledged to the viewers: ‘I’m sorry, I’m correct the caterer.’ And that’s when the put went crazy.”
He heard booing and sensed unrest. “I made the sever-throat heed all the arrangement in which thru my neck, alerting my group that it used to be time to fade,” he recalled. The crew packed up their food vans and sped off.
It used to be a wise transfer. Spying the remaining awards on a table, an opportunist from the peanut gallery shouted: “F – – k it, I’m taking one!” He dashed to the front, climbed onto the platform and scooped up two Clios, preserving them aloft like Rocky Balboa.
This act of defiance resulted in a stampede. Shut to 150 other folks jostled to procure a trophy. Evans hadn’t bothered to obtain them engraved or labeled, so it didn’t matter who obtained what.
In the meantime, copywriter Henderson, the legitimate recipient of an award, surveyed the courtroom cases with bemusement. He spotted an acquaintance standing on a chair, frantically waving his fingers and shouting, “Please, please, all people halt this madness!” But no person paid attention.
Minutes later, the rookie used to be called to action by an government from his company. “He yelled: ‘Hurry obtain your Clio!’ ” acknowledged Henderson. He didn’t want telling twice.
He vaulted onto the stage where a pointy-elbowed colleague handed him a random statuette. The chaos used to be caught on digicam by photographers, one in every of whom landed the quilt of Adweek. The headline read: “Clio Free For All” above an incriminating checklist of the looters serving to themselves.
The next day, The Post sent an mettlesome reporter to query Evans at his Midtown put of business. But our newsman used to be confronted “by a younger man who threatened him with brass knuckles.” The boss used to be nowhere to be considered.
Evans filed for financial damage in 1992, claiming $1.8 million in debt. He used to be compelled to promote the Clios, and died in 2014 at the age of 83.
As of late, the Clios, established in 1959, are aloof held – with a vastly improved reputation. So grand in recount that Bravo and SiriusXM massive title Andy Cohen hosted the 2018 tournament, marking the ceremony’s 60th anniversary. Satirically, it used to be held at the Manhattan Center.
As for Henderson, now a ingenious director in Dallas, Texas, he has won four extra Clios over the final three decades. But the first award from 1991 is the one he treasures most. “The unlabeled statuette from that circus of a night,” acknowledged Henderson, “is oddly extra stress-free to have than the rest.”