The Process

As in previous years, the AOY process began with the selection of which agencies would be invited to compete. This was based on a poll of 50 senior creatives and client marketers from across Canada. From a comprehensive list of agencies and their major campaigns, each person was asked which shops stood out on the basis of their work over the past year. Points were earned based on the number of times a particular agency was selected to be on the shortlist. The agencies invited to participate were BBDO, Bensimon Byrne, Cossette, DDB, Dentsu, John St., Leo Burnett, Lowe Roche, Ogilvy, Rethink, Sid Lee, Taxi, TBWA, and Zig. Each shortlisted agency submitted five advertising campaigns representing work executed for five different brands over the previous 12 months.

Next, we chose the judges: six agency creatives (the creative panel) and six marketing execs (the strategic panel), one of whom was an international judge. Working in isolation, the judges gave each agency's submission an overall score of zero to 10 based on strategic insight and the ability to execute creatively, as well as versatility – the agency's ability to work in different product categories and in different media.

The cumulative scores from the creative and strategic judges were then totalled and averaged, with equal weighting. The agency with the highest final score was the winner.

The Scores

It was a very close race this year, with several tied scores and hair’s-breadth wins. Here are the judges’ averages that determined the Agency of the Year.

Creative Strategic Overall
BBDO7.93 Taxi (tie)7.73 Taxi7.48
Taxi7.23 John St. (tie)7.73 BBDO7.40
DDB7.10 DDB7.38 DDB7.24
Rethink6.75 Zig7.33 John St.6.88
Dentsu6.68 Bensimon Byrne7.25 Zig6.78
Ogilvy & Mather6.58 Sid Lee7.00 Ogilvy6.77
Leo Burnett6.50 Ogilvy & Mather6.95 Rethink6.69
Lowe Roche6.33 BBDO (tie)6.86 Leo Burnett6.68
Zig6.23 Leo Burnett (tie)6.86 Lowe Roche6.52
Cossette6.13 Lowe Roche6.70 Bensimon Byrne6.49
John St. 6.03 Rethink6.63 Dentsu6.42
TBWA6.00 TBWA6.27 Sid Lee6.39
Sid Lee5.78 Dentsu6.15 TBWA6.14
Bensimon Byrne5.73 Cossette5.08 Cossette5.41