We're all winners. Really.

Back in 1993, Taxi made its first showing in our Agency of the Year competition, pulling off a tie for silver. It then took seven years for the agency to rank again in the top three. Boy, that feels so long ago. With this win, Taxi has secured its position as strategy's most honoured AOY winner.

So to the victors go the title - and the very cool cover. But the rest of the story this year is found in our second- and third-place winners. Even the honourable mention. (There's another no-brainer and a couple of comebacks.)

But overall, it's the work, according to our 14 judges, that really reigns. "I'm inspired by the level of creative presented by all agencies," wrote judge Bill Downie,

CD at Vancouver's Saatchi Drum, echoing the sentiments of many. "There's no doubt in my mind that Canadian agencies compete now, more than ever, on an international level." So, yes, to Taxi goes the gold, but as terribly sentimental as it sounds, it's the never-been-better Canadian creative that continues to be the real winner.

The process

As in past years, the AOY process began by selecting which agencies would be invited to compete. This was based on a poll of 50 creatives and client marketers from across Canada.

From a comprehensive list of agencies, each person was asked which stood out on the basis of their work over the last year.

Points were earned based on the number of times a particular agency was selected to be on the shortlist.

Next, we chose the judges: seven marketing execs and seven agency creatives, two of whom were from abroad: one the U.S.; the other the U.K.

Each selected agency was asked to submit five advertising campaigns representing work executed for five different clients over the previous 12 months. The agencies were advised that the judges would consider their ability to work across different product categories and across different media.

Working in isolation, judges were instructed to give each agency's submission an overall score of 0 to 10. The cumulative scores from both the creative and strategic panels were then totaled and averaged, with equal weighting. The agency with the highest final score was the winner.


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