All of the campaigns submitted to Strategy's Agency of the Year competition are reviewed by two separate panels of judges: The creative panel (below), which consists of agency presidents and creative directors, and the strategic panel, made up of senior marketing executives. The scores from the two panels are averaged and the agency with the highest tally wins.

Creative Judges Strategic Judges


Russell RamseyRussell Ramsey, deputy executive CD,
BBH London, London, U.K.

In 1990, after four years with Saatchi & Saatchi, Russell Ramsey joined BBH and immediately started winning awards on accounts such as Levi Strauss, Sony and Audi. He was appointed to the board in 1995 and was made a creative director in 2000.

Ramsey was the creative director on Levi's "Twist," the world's second most awarded commercial in 2002. Also in 2002, the British Institute of Practitioners of Advertising listed Ramsey among the country's top 10 creative directors.

Favourite advertising

  • Downtown Partners DDB, Bud Light, "History"
  • Downtown Partners DDB, Dunlop Loco golf balls, "Crazy long drives"
  • Rethink, Dominion, Fresh Obsessed, "Special announcement"

Impressions of the work
Downtown Partners had five excellent campaigns across TV, print, radio and other media. All big ideas, all with potential for the future. Other agencies had strong work but Downtown Partners had strong ideas across all five entries.

Noel O'DeaNoel O'Dea, president,
director of strategic and creative planning, Target Marketing & Communications St. John's, Nfld.

After a series of previous lives - as brand manager, consumer researcher, and professor of marketing and advertising - O'Dea came out of the closet and created an advertising agency and brand architecture firm.

Twenty years later, Target's blue-chip clients include Air Canada, Tango, Jazz, Molson, Irving, Unilever and Rogers. Target's work has won a boatload of awards, from the One Show to the New York Festivals to the London International. And Target is still the only agency east of Quebec to win a Cassies Gold award.

Favourite advertising

  • Taxi, Mini, "Cop Test Drive"
  • Palmer Jarvis DDB, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, Bait Cars
  • Zig, Canadian Value of Music Coalition, Music Needs You, "Drowning"
  • Everything from Bos

Impressions of the work
If penis envy ever existed among Canadian-owned agencies, this must be the year we were cured. The independents, with an easy confidence, avoided the tired, formulaic clichés that characterize so much of the work from multinational agencies. Instead, we were treated to smart, intelligent, engaging work - deeply rooted in consumer and strategic insights - that, thankfully, didn't smell like ads. Thank you to the courageous clients who demonstrated here that they believe in and trust their agencies - rather than eviscerating our passion, and leading us to death by a thousand cuts.

Lesley ParrottLesley Parrott,
founder, Lesley Parrott Consulting, Toronto, Ont.

Lesley Parrott is a 38-year veteran of the Canadian advertising and communications industry. She spent over 25 of those years at MacLaren McCann and J. Walter Thompson in leadership positions in broadcast production and creative services management. Parrott recently launched her own consultancy specializing in education, development and team building - an area of expertise she developed during three years as senior VP, director of education and development at Toronto's MacLaren.

In 1990 Parrott was awarded the lifetime achievement Spiess Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Art of the Television Commercial. This year, Parrott was appointed a fellow of the Toronto-based Institute of Communications and Advertising.

Favourite advertising

  • Palmer Jarvis DDB, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, Bait Cars, radio work
  • Palmer Jarvis DDB, Canadian Hockey Association, It's Just a Game, "Grocery"
  • Bos, Historia, Rewind, "Challenger"

Impressions of the work
Judging this competition reinforced how much I truly love this business.

The Bos work consistently delivered on all fronts. The work was uniformly simple, clever and clear. And, at last, an insightful, simple, focused bank campaign... with humour and charm.

The Palmer Jarvis work had some superb high spots. The Canadian Hockey campaign spoke to our "not so gentle" Canadian souls and boy did it get a lot of attention. Great communications can create debate and change attitudes in ways that teaching and legislation alone could never do.

The BC Dairy Foundation shows the power of making a strong idea stronger when you can do it across different media.

ICBC found its target and spoke to them in their language; powerful stuff that couldn't help but make us smile about a miserable topic - car theft.

Finding the right voice worked well for a number of campaigns. The Downtown Partners work for Bud Light, Rethink for BC Lions and John St. for A Marca Bavaria all spoke to men whilst entertaining everyone, and the Zig Danier spot hit the same chord for women.

Interesting that, yet again, much of the great work did not come from the supposed Centre of the Canadian Advertising Business Universe. Perhaps agencies and clients alike need to loosen up a little.

Jean-François BouchardJean-François Bouchard,
president and senior partner, Diesel Marketing, Montreal, Que.

Educated in law, Bouchard co-founded Diesel in 1993 right out of school before even finishing his MBA in marketing. For the first few years, he worked as a writer with co-founder and art director Philippe Meunier. Gradually, he focused on planning and the management of the agency. Today, Diesel is recognized as one of the leading advertising and Web marketing firms in Canada. Bouchard was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1998. Diesel is also recognized as one of the 50 Best Managed Private Companies in Canada (National Post - Deloitte Touche).

Favourite advertising

  • Palmer Jarvis DDB, BC Dairy, Don't take your body for granted
  • Taxi, The Movie Network, See what you're missing
  • Rethink, BC Lions, You belong in the stands

Impressions of the work
Three comments: Fantastic work by Rethink on Bell Solo - the integration is exceptional. Taxi has done a great job on The Movie Network. And talk about a big idea: the BC Dairy campaign from Palmer Jarvis is the quintessence of a powerful idea that has legs!

Doug CameronDoug Cameron,
co-founder/strategy director, Amalgamated, New York, N.Y.

In June 2003 Doug Cameron, along with two other ex-Cliff Freeman & Partners executives, founded Amalgamated. The agency now works for such clients as Ben & Jerry's, Freelancers Union, and Fuse, a new music television network. Cameron is currently co-authoring a book on how the past decade's top ad campaigns really came about, and has recently been interviewed on the national news about his "Bobo" index, a media planning tool that ranks markets in terms of "bourgeois bohemians" per capita. Cameron has worked for such clients as FOX Sports, Budget Rent A Car,, Staples, and Coca-Cola. He grew up in Canada and is still an active supporter of the Rhino Party.

Favourite advertising

  • Downtown Partners DDB, Bud Light, greeting cards
  • Palmer Jarvis DDB, SuperPages, Your Telus Directory
  • Taxi, Covenant House, Street Kid Survival

Impressions of the work
Overall, it was a great body of work. What really struck me, across the board, was the creative use of media. The non-traditional media vehicles were inspired: rickshaw runners, garbage cans, floor skid marks, mousetraps, political poster add-ons, and the like. So were the many unconventional uses of conventional channels: scrambled TV ads, paper towel print ads, police radio broadcasts, and speed trap warning billboards.

My only criticism of the advertising - as a whole - is that it could have engaged more with national cultural issues (or in the case of Quebec and B.C., provincial cultural issues). It strikes me that there are a lot of interesting cultural changes going on in the country right now, and it would have been nice to see more work that pushes the national dialogue. This is the sort of thing that makes for famous campaigns. It's also the sort of thing that will ultimately allow the Canadian ad industry to defend itself against the American networks' current global blanding crusade. But maybe this is just me speaking as an ex-pat Canadian re-pat wannabe.

Alison SimpsonAlison Simpson,
president, Enterprise Creative Selling, Toronto, Ont.

Alison Simpson worked at BBDO (Vancouver and Toronto) and MacLaren McCann (Toronto) before taking on the lead position at Enterprise Creative Selling. During her career, Simpson has worked across a vast spectrum of categories including: technology, beer, packaged goods, retail, telecommunications, entertainment, pharmaceuticals, government and tourism.

Outside of the office, Simpson is an aspiring author and avid athlete who loves almost any sport. She's currently obsessed with running, and has completed five marathons in five countries in the last nine months.

Favourite advertising

  • Downtown Partners DDB, Bud Light, greeting cards
  • Rethink, Norske Canada, The World Prints on Us, "Cheap Ploy" print ad
  • Palmer Jarvis DDB, Canadian Hockey Association, It's Just a Game, "Grocery"

Impressions of the work
In evaluating the submissions, I was drawn to the ideas rooted in meaningful consumer insights and ideas that were powerful enough in their simplicity to work across any medium.

The agencies that stood out for me received top marks for one reason: diversity. The diversity of their ideas, client base, and how and where they executed the ideas. They brought as much creativity to their overall approach as they did to the actual creative. The top agencies showed an ability to consistently go beyond the tried and true to deliver truly innovative solutions, and solutions that didn't always require big budgets.

At the end of the day, an agency is only as good as the business results it delivers for its clients. The best creative in my mind delivered strong business results to the clients (and a few industry kudos for the agency).

Creative Judges Strategic Judges

Copyright © 2003 Brunico Communications Inc. All rights reserved.