AOY — The tough get going

Let’s be frank: 2009 was a doozy, in more ways than one. The year that easy forgot also marks the 20th annual Agency of the Year competition, and the agencies who rose to the top in this toughest of years are worth celebrating. “In most cases the great work we judged was created and launched within one of the most challenging economic periods we may ever face,” said jury member and Grand & Toy VP marketing Kevin Edwards. “The many brilliant executions could stand alone regardless of the economy — however considering our collective experience this past year they are even more remarkable.”

Of course, we can’t all be Frank — and while each of the dozen agencies invited to the shortlist this year has created outstanding work, there was a clear winner. “The agencies that fared best were the ones who squared up to the demands of the strategy and squeezed every drop from the creative idea. This 'thoroughness' is not only a fail-safe way of showing the breadth of an idea, it is a key virtue of an excellent agency,” said judge and Ignyte founder Ian Mirlin.

Who squared up and squeezed best? Click the Winners tab above to find out.