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McCann claim Super Clio for 'genius' National Geographic spot starring Alfred Einstein

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A TV spot from McCann promoting National Geographic's upcoming scripted “Genius” TV program on Albert Einstein was voted as the winner of the Super Clio award, a special Clio creative award established two years ago to honour the best commercial aired during the Super Bowl. McCann's victory in the highly competitive creative showcase of the Super Bowl follows other recognition won recently by the agency, including rising to the global rank of No. 2 in The Gunn Report's list of the most creatively awarded networks and similarly moving up to No. 2 in Ad Age's 2017 Agency A-List.

Genius was smart, simple, and back when I started in advertising, simple was always the hallmark of a great ad” TBWA\Worldwide chairman/global director, Lee Clow

The winning TV spot (below) featured Geoffrey Rush, who will star as Einstein in the first scripted series from National Geographic, playing the violin, as the famous physicist himself did as part of his intricate thought process. But in McCann's twist, Rush plays Lady Gaga's “Bad Romance,” which was particularly apt given that the commercial itself ran after Lady Gaga's own halftime show during what was one of the most watched games in Super Bowl history. The 10-part series, developed by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, will premiere on April 25 on the National Geographic Channel in the US. For the Super Clio, the Clio Awards selects a panel of industry experts to rank Big Game ads based on the strength of creative alone. The runners-up this year are Honda's “Yearbooks” by RPA Los Angeles, Budweiser's “Born the Hard Way” by Anomaly, and Airbnb's “#WeAccept” by TBWA New York. Past winners include the Snickers' “Brady Bunch” ad from 2015 (starring Danny Trejo), and Jeep's “Portraits” last year.

Eric Silver, McCann North America's Chief Creative Officer, said: “Typical movie and TV trailers all look the same, so we aimed to stand out in a way that trailers never do. And we know most Super Bowl commercials tend to employ the same use of humour, so to get out of that box is to already start with a leg up. We discovered Einstein had a love of violin and Mozart, so it felt serendipitous to use that as a musical bridge to Lady Gaga.” Jill Cress, CMO, National Geographic Partners, added: “This spot was an incredible opportunity for us to reach the largest TV audience of the year and also a way to reintroduce our brand philosophy to push boundaries, go further and be pioneering in everything we do. We are incredibly grateful to our partners at McCann and honoured to be recognised with such a prestigious acknowledgement of our efforts.”

“Genius was incredible because it was, in some ways what many Super Bowl ads aren't; crafted and subtle, not loud or over the top” BBDO ECD, Chris Beresford-Hill​

McCann's creative honours throughout 2016 included having the single-most awarded campaign at the Cannes Lions Festival with both the McCann US and UK agencies ranking No. 1 in their respective countries; being named “Network of the Year” globally at the London International Awards, Cresta, and Midas financial marketing awards; in Europe at the Golden Drum Awards; in Latin America at the three FIAP, El Ojo and El Sol regional awards; FP7 Dubai// McCann's recognition by the EFFIEs as the No. 1 most effective agency in the world; McCann Health's being named “Network of the Year” both at the 2016 Cannes Lions Health Festival and at the Global Awards; and Momentum and Weber Shandwick also receiving agency of the year honours.

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If you can't get enough Super Bowl ad news, there is even more to explore in our Super Bowl 2017 Celebrity Endorsements and Super Bowl 51 Roundup pieces. Finally, you can see our round-up of almost 40 Super Bowl ads HERE or read an opinion piece on how many this year's ads took a boldly political stance RIGHT HERE.

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