Travel Diary: Clio Awards Jury Retreat Mallorca

A look behind the scenes

The Clio Awards' Judging Retreat just wrapped and I was able to attend and observe some of the magic that makes it one of the most coveted invites in the industry. As a former media executive, I had only served as a juror for one smaller creative show, and it most definitely wasn't in a location as breathtaking as Mallorca, Spain. I was excited to witness firsthand the inner workings of one of the most prestigious awards in the industry and hear some of the best creatives deliberate over which work deserved honors.  

Day 1: Welcome to Mallorca

After touching down on the picturesque island of Mallorca, we headed straight to the Hotel Castillo Son Vida, a medieval castle that dates back to the 13th century and sits on a hill overlooking the lovely town of Palma. Surrounded by palm trees, lush greenery and crisp air, the space radiates an intimate and serene vibe—almost storybook like, the perfect locale for 100+ creative and marketing experts to absorb inspiration as they deliberated.

The first wave of jurors was already in session, judging global submissions across the categories of Brand, Branded Entertainment & Content, Digital/Mobile & Experiential/Activation, Direct, Film and Social Media. Following thoughtful and spirited conversations, the groups broke for lunch and retreated to the patio to dine and network with their peers. Then they headed back to their respective conference rooms to continue deliberating which work would be shortlisted or awarded a Bronze, Silver or Gold Clio. 

To close out the day we headed to the Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf Hotel for a Spanish-style barbecue dinner at Es Carbo. The night took a magical turn as we were swept away by the rhythmic beats of a Ball de Bot performance, a mesmerizing Mallorcan folk dance that dates back to the 1300s.

Memorable Moment of the Day: Observing a juror passionately provide cultural context for a campaign that swayed their peers to elevate the entry from Silver to Gold. 

Day 2: Grand Judging  

After grabbing breakfast at the hotel buffet—including some of the most unforgettable fresh fruit I've ever tasted—I hopped between jury rooms to catch the final round-one deliberations. Immediately following, the rooms moved onto discussions to determine which, if any, Gold-awarded work would be elevated to a Grand Clio. 

During breaks, I was able to connect with jurors for a lively test of their marketing tagline knowledge and a download of their sources of inspiration for Clio's social media channels. 

Wave one judging ended with champagne toasts in each of the jury rooms and a flurry of jurors exchanging contact information and planning future meetups. The celebration and networking continued during dinner at the hotel and the mood remained high during post-meal drinks at the bar. 

Memorable Moment of the Day: Overhearing a juror say, "This is a campaign I wish my team had done."

Day 3: Creativity Connects

The second wave of jurors arrived at the Retreat to join their wave one peers for Clio's Creativity Connect Day. The morning was filled with sessions designed to challenge participants to think differently about pop culture and how advertisers should work to reach key audiences. I emceed—deftly, if I might add—and marketing leaders from Twitch, Tubi and Michelob Ultra offered the room a glimpse into the future of creative innovation. 

After a lunch break, we ventured to Bodegas Jose L. Ferrer for a tour and tasting in the scenic Mallorcan wine region of Binissalem. The winery's timeless charm offered a peaceful retreat, steeped in three generations of history. As we soaked in the beauty and bonded with fellow enthusiasts, our experience was heightened by an enchanting performance from Alana Springstein, a rising star in country music. There's an undeniable magic in connecting firsthand with the creators, whether it's through music, art or the meticulous craft of winemaking. 

Back at the hotel, we were treated to a mesmerizing flamenco dance troupe, their movements a symphony of passion and grace. The night culminated in a whirlwind of laughter, karaoke and inspiring conversation. 

Memorable Moment of the Day: Witnessing Twitch streamer SUJAGG, whose primary language is Spanish, command the stage with confidence despite initial concerns about presenting in English, was truly captivating. He not only educated the room but also shed light on the profound impact of Spanish creators in the digital realm.

Day 4: Wave 2 Kick Off

With the wave one jurors departed, wave two judging began with the group evaluating global submission across the categories of Audio & Audio Craft, Creative Business Transformation, Commerce & Effectiveness, Design, Media, Public Relations and Print & Out of Home. Before hopping into the juror rooms, I had to rescue a coat left behind by a departed guest and ensure it arrived safely to the airport before their plane departed. Shout out to the hotel bellman Thomas who helped me retrieve the coat and secured a taxi to ferry it to its very grateful owner. 

After that, I updated my story notes and captured some additional content for our social channels. Then I headed into the town of Palma for lunch at Aromata and got to experience a bit of the community before heading back to the hotel for dinner with the wave two jurors. The meal was lively with effortless conversation and laughter throughout the room. I left the festivities to head to my room to pack for my next day's departure—glad to be headed home—but a little sad to miss the great insights and connection over the remaining retreat days. 

Memorable Moment of the Day: Having several jurors come up to me to tell me how much they were appreciating the smooth flow of the jury session and the prior’s day Creative Connect Day activities. 


From the intense deliberations to the new connections that were formed to the unforgettable cultural experiences, every day of the trip brought new discoveries and memorable moments that will stay with me long after the retreat and I think that’s true for the jurors who attended as well. Each moment was a testament to the boundless creativity and camaraderie that defines the Clio experience and makes it unique from every other awards program.

I can't help but feel grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a remarkable event

—Until next time, Clio Awards!

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