To win one of Strategy's signature airplanes, it's not enough to just have a handful of strong campaigns. Agency of the Year judges demand work showing diversity across brands and categories. There are no one-trick ponies here.

AOY winner Cossette's campaigns placed Canadian summer athletes on Georgian Bay's icy shores, and removed the iconic bee from a cereal box. The winning work sounded the alarm about young people's unhealthy media habits and play, while showing formerly sick kids prosper.

Digital winner FCB used a mix of design savvy and real-time digital chops to earn the judges' approval. On the media side, PHD employed VR to help students fall for a far-off university campus, and decorated a Montreal park with LED paint swatches. In PR, Media Profile hosted journos at a cottage and got Justin Bieber tweeting.

The agencies were judged on their exceptional work, but these articles — covering the 12 agency winners — go beyond the campaigns to get at the strategy and agency culture from which the work was conceived.

The winners picked up their trophies at a Nov. 8 gala in Toronto. Read on to learn how they did it.