WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN AGENCY OF THE YEAR? Well, it's not rocket science. All you need is a celestial constellation of work that has the judges seeing stars (okay, we'll stop with the space puns, for now).

This year's winning creative, media, digital and PR agencies entered the AOY arena with work that had judges praising their multidimensionality and ability to showcase talents across the board. Leo Burnett, for example, took home Gold in our agency competition for campaigns for clients big and small, across categories from financial to retail, and CPG to government. The work was also creatively distinct, from an emotional spot for Always to promotions that rely on Ikea's functional benefits.

DDB/Tribal Worldwide showed digital diversity, picking up the top prize in the category for work that ranged from innovative new app tech for McDonald's, to a dynamic website for Volkswagen and social videos for Canadian Tire. Over in media, Touché! activated across various channels, from real-time transit boards to street furniture to in-call Skype ads for three different retailers. And finally, MSLGroup, the Gold-winning PR agency, showed a multifarious mix of promotions to reach both traditional and unconventional media, from print journalists to online influencers.

These winners, plus Silver and Bronze in each category, picked up their awards at a gala in Toronto on Nov. 4. Read on to learn about this year's 12 winning agencies' not-so-secret success, and what they're doing to create out-of-this-world work.