It isn’t easy. The competition evaluates an agency’s performance on the basis of its work over the past year - judged from the perspectives of strategic thinking and creative execution.
This year, as always, the process began with the selection of the agencies.
The screening was based on an informal but extensive poll of more than 40 contacts in the advertising community.
Key to our selection was this question: From all that you have seen and heard, which agencies stand out most clearly on the basis of their work over the past year?
Nine agencies made the cut.
In alphabetical order, they were: Ammirati Puris; BBDO Canada; Bensimon-Byrne D’Arcy; Gee, Jeffery & Partners Advertising; Holmes & Lee; MacLaren McCann; Ogilvy & Mather; Palmer Jarvis DDB; and TAXI Advertising & Design.
The selection of agencies was handled entirely by Strategy, as was the selection of judges.
The judges - seven advertising agency creatives and six senior marketing executives - had no say in which agencies should participate.
In the second stage of the process, each of the agencies was invited to send in a submission.
Although there is no entry fee for the Agency of the Year competition, the agencies involved were asked to put considerable effort into the preparation of their submissions.
They were asked to submit five advertising ideas representing work they had done for five different clients over the previous 12 months.
The submissions could include anything the agencies chose to showcase, from a single selected item (such as a television commercial) to a full-fledged campaign using multiple media.
While the final choice of work was left up to each individual agency, all were advised to bear in mind that the judges would be scoring on the basis of an agency’s ability to work in different product categories and across different media.
The criteria on which the work was to be judged were two-fold: strategic thinking and creative execution.
In order to bring the broadest possible perspective to the competition, our judging panel included representation from the Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver markets. This year, for the first time, we also added members from the U.S. (see pages 62-66 for the judges’ profiles).
The judges never met as a group.
Instead, the nine portfolios were delivered to each of them individually. The judges then proceeded to review the work over a two- or three-day span.
The judges were asked to treat the competition as an Olympic-style contest in which they awarded agencies points for overall performance.
They were instructed to score each agency’s body of work on a scale of zero to 10. They were also asked to pick their three favourite ads, and to provide us with their overall impressions of the work they saw.
The final selection was made on the basis of a straight numerical tally: We totalled each agency’s scores, and then determined the average. The agency with the highest average score claimed the prize.
Breakdown of Results
The Agency of the Year competition is judged by a panel that includes both clients and agency creatives.
Had either of these two groups been judging the competition on their own, would the final
results have been significantly different?
See for yourself.
TAXI Advertising & Design: 7.88
Palmer Jarvis DDB: 7.77
Bensimon-Byrne D'Arcy: 7.58
Overall average score from both panels: 6.80
Average score from strategic judges: 7.23
Average score from creative judges: 6.42
Palmer Jarvis DDB: 8.43
MacLaren McCann: 7.01
BBDO Canada: 6.94
TAXI Advertising & Design: 6.94