Small L.A. Firm Scores Big With TV Ads : Pytka Productions Wins 6 Prestigious Clio Awards in New York in Recognition of Notable Commercials

Times Staff Writer

Imagine a small California company, headquartered in Venice with 15 full-time employees, running off with some of the top New York awards in the advertising industry.

It came true Monday night for Joe and John Pytka, two brothers whose production company, Pytka Productions, picked up six prestigious Clio awards for four notable television advertising campaigns, including the Pepsi “Archaeology” commercial.

That’s the Pepsi ad that showed a professor and his students rummaging through remnants of our generation at some distant future date, unable to identify a Coca-Cola bottle. The idea for the ad came from Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn (BBDO) in New York, and Pytka produced it.

The production company also won awards for its work in producing commercials for Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve beer, John Hancock Financial Services and Memorex audio tapes.


The 2-year-old company received the honors at the 27th annual Clio awards at Lincoln Center in New York. Clio Inc., a privately held New York company, annually stages a worldwide competition to recognize the best in print, radio, television, package design and specialty advertising.

The competition is open to both advertising agencies that develop the creative ideas for campaigns and production companies such as Pytka that make those ideas come to life in commercials. While Pytka Productions won more Clios in the TV advertising category this year than any other production company or advertising agency, Joe Pytka gives a lot of credit to the agencies that he worked with.

“Truthfully, it was the creative product of the agencies; without them we would not be able to do very good work.

“Awards are very important to my brother and I. We use awards as sort of advertising,” Pytka said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It’s hard to put a value on your work in advertising,” he said. One way to establish its value, he added, “is to put yourself in competition with others.”


There were a total of 21,709 entries from 53 countries for the 1986 Clio awards. Pytka was among the 6,191 U.S. entries for the television commercial category alone.

“Clios always have been associated as the Academy Awards of the commercial field,” explained Jane McCann, executive producer at Pytka. Last year, the company won four Clios.

Other major award winners Monday were three agencies that each won four Clios. They were BBDO, J. Walter Thompson USA and San Francisco-based Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein.