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Impact Entertainment Inspires “Storytelling for Good” Award from Clio

Sarah and Tom on set with actor Ken Jeong for The Story of Cancer series for PBS. Spring 2014. The video was selected as Vimeo Staff Pick, and the series won a duPont-Columbia Award.

Earlier this year, Brand Storytelling partnered with Participant Media and SoulPancake to issue a survey conducted by the Harris Poll on the rise of “Impact Entertainment”, or the use of traditional entertainment to spotlight and impact social and environmental issues.

The basic concept of impact entertainment is nothing new. Documentary films have been using the medium of film to spread awareness and incite action surrounding their respective subject matter for nearly a century. What sets the impact entertainment being researched apart from the traditional is the source of its financing.

This year’s documentary film 5B, which tells the story of the doctors and nurses that ran the first AIDS ward in the country, was paid for by Johnson & Johnson. The multinational corporation’s branding and logos do not appear in the film. There is no promotion of its companies or products. Instead, Johnson & Johnson simply sought to fund a “hero film” to inspire viewers through demonstration of the values embodied by the men and women in the film.

This use of corporate capital to fund entertainment whose sole purpose is not to sell, but to inspire and incite social action, seems out of step with the core tenant of brands and corporations: profit. But in a time when more brands, media companies, and corporations seek to connect with an ever growing, socially conscious consumer base, there is strong recognition from the interior that time and money must be spent on communicating the idea that companies share their consumers’ values. Just take a look at some of these key impact entertainment survey responses collected by the Harris Poll.

36% of marketing executives surveyed projected increased spending in the development of impact entertainment.

45% of C-Suite respondents surveyed said they would spend more on impact entertainment in the next 3 years.

81% of all respondents surveyed believe that activism through entertainment has the ability to change the world for the better.

85% of all respondents believe impact entertainment engages with consumers in a meaningful way.

87% of C-Suite respondents believe their brand values are more important than quarterly financials.

Taken together, these data points paint a picture of a future in which great value is placed on impact entertainment and even greater value on those currently pioneering such entertainment. The kind of value that, in order to bring exposure to this upward trending segment of entertainment, deserves and demands formal public recognition. As such, Clio, the award program that recognizes innovation and creative excellence in advertising, design and communication, has announced the launch of Clio Brand Storytelling, a new program in partnership with Brand Storytelling.

The inaugural Storytelling for Good Award will celebrate branded entertainment and content that promotes or creates awareness for a cause, foundation, organization and/or political or social issue. A ceremony to present the award will take place at Brand Storytelling: A Sanctioned Event of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on January 23rd at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah.

“Over the last five years or so, we’ve seen an increase across all of our programs, not just in submissions, but in winning work that highlights cause-related or socially impactful ideas,” said Nicole Purcell, President, Clio. “We took that as a message that the creative community feels it’s important to advance this type of content and our response was to seek out the right partner to develop a program that really hones in on that sentiment. The 5th annual Brand Storytelling event will be the perfect place to reveal the inaugural winner and express our joint commitment to celebrating branded storytelling created specifically to do good."

“This award is to inspire audiences by highlighting the most impactful work in branded entertainment and content,” says Rick Parkhill, director of Brand Storytelling. “By recognizing brands and their efforts in this space, we hope to encourage more companies to be committed to purpose as well as profit.”

Entries for the Inaugural Storytelling for Good Award will be accepted through December 6th, 2019. There is a $400 entry fee. All entries must have been created for a paying client except pro bono work for charities and non-profit organizations. Entries first appearing in public between January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019 are eligible. For the inaugural year, the jury will select one Grand winner of the Storytelling for Good Award.

For more information on the program or to submit work, visit


About The Clio Awards

The Clio Awards is the premier international awards competition for the creative business. Founded in 1959 to celebrate creative excellence in advertising, the Clio Awards today honors the work and talent at the forefront of the advertising, sports, fashion, music, entertainment, and health care industries. Clio recognizes the world’s most innovative work annually at Clio Sports in May, the Clio Awards in September, which includes Clio Music and Clio Fashion & Beauty; at the Clio Entertainment Awards in November; and online with Clio Health. Noting the diverse and ever-changing creative landscape, Clio acquired and revamped global ad database Ads of the World and re-launched its content platform in 2018, to celebrate creativity 365 days a year.

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