If you happen to be a die-hard fan of Mad Men, The CLIO Awards for advertising may ring a bell. Founded to celebrate ingenuity in design and advertising, The Clio Awards have expanded to include a separate celebration for advertisers and communications specialists within the fashion industry. And The 2014 Clio Image Awards are upon us, celebrating the best and brightest fashion advertisements of the year. Among other style stars, Sarah Jessica Parker will receive an Honorary Award for her SJP shoe collection. But what about the host of other ads that really grabbed our attention and challenged us this year? Here are my nominees for the most mystifying, bewildering, beautiful and fanatical advertisements of Winter 2013/2014 and Spring/Summer 2014.
1. Most Gratuitous Nudity
Dree Hemingway's Spring 2014 campaign for Agnona treads the line between adorable and risqué, thanks to an image in which a nude Hemingway cradles a lamb. Perhaps it's simply because there are literally no clothes being advertised in the image, but the nudity seems unnecessary. Still, that lamb is pretty adorable.
2. Most Confusing
From a pair of feet submerged in a fish tank to a model riding what appears to be a swordfish, the general reaction to Kenzo's new ad campaign seems to be, "Huh?" It's not the clothing that's questionable — in fact, the swirling patterns and graphic, bright colors are hypnotizing. But an eight-fingered hand and clothing that appears to be exploding off the bodies of its models is frankly perplexing. Again, though, with the cute animals!
3. Best Use of Pouty Face
Miley Cyrus does many things admirably: twerking, sticking her tongue out, and igniting public disapproval chief among them. However, with her Marc Jacobs Spring 2014 ad campaign, Cyrus added another skill to her list: mastering the pouty face.
4. Most Controversy-Inducing Video
Though the world has seen some particularly questionable advertisements over the past few months, there are three which truly sent viewers into a tizzy. Both Madonna's MDNA video and Joe Boxer's, er, Jingle Ball commercial igniting the most controversy among viewers. Even disregarding her skincare line's name, which alludes to Miley's drug of choice, Madonna's rambling video seemed more like an expensive ode to her many life philosophies. Joe Boxer pushed boundaries in late 2013 with an ad depicting boxer-clad men performing "Jingle Bells" in their skivvies, resulting in internet-wide outcry against what some deemed inappropriate. However, Desigual's new Mother's Day commercial — which features a crazy model poking pinholes into condoms — blows both of the former advertisements out of the water in terms of shock and revulsion.
5. Best Dystopian Future-Style Ad
From the bleached, slicked-back yellow hair to the dark lighting, Kate Moss's Spring campaign for Alexander McQueen channels dystopian noir films Blade Runner and Fifth Element in a big way. The shot of Moss watching a neon-lit store window full of TV's in a rain-slicked alleyway which appears in the video advertisement simply adds to the futuristic feel.
6. Most Adorably Quirky
Cara Delevigne and Mulberry make a perfectly quirky pair in the brand's Spring 2014 ad campaign, though the plethora of animals and a chaotic tea party backdrop certainly add to the charm.
7. Best Couple Dynamic
We doubt there was anyone who glanced over Banana Republic's ad campaign featuring Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent without cracking a smile. The real-life couple look so incredibly radiant and happy that you can't help but be delighted for them. That they happen to make Banana Republic's clothing look fantastic is just an added bonus.
8. Most Use of Khaki
It should come as no surprise that Burberry's Spring 2014 campaign secured first place in this category for a campaign in which seven models show off their classic, khaki trench coats. There also may have been a plaid bag or two thrown in for good measure.