John St., Tribal Worldwide and OMD win big at Agency of the Year

The three agencies take the titles of top creative, digital and media shops, respectively, while John St. also takes a Bronze in digital at this year's gala.
John St Gold

Agencies from across Canada gathered tonight at the Sound Academy on Toronto’s waterfront to celebrate strategy’s annual Agency of the Year awards.

Creative, digital and media winners were unveiled at the show hosted by comedy partners and Reasons Mommy Drinks co-authors Fiona Stevenson of Hotspex and Lyranda Martin-Evans, CD at KBS+.

John St.’s road was paved with Gold, as it took top prize as the Agency of the Year, as well as a Bronze Digital Agency of the Year. The jury, made up of top industry executives, selected the shop based on the strength of its best campaigns,  including a “live” news station for WWF, an online-driven adoption campaign for Zellers’ liquidation sale and a Facebook app for Stanfield’s where people could follow the progress of a guy hitchhiking across Canada in his underwear to raise money and awareness for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Tribal Worldwide claimed Digital Agency of the Year Gold for a second straight year with work including a digital catalogue for Canadian Tire, an online music composition contest microsite for the BC Dairy Association and a photo and short-video contest microsite for the Canadian Tourism Commission.

Meanwhile, OMD took Gold as Media Agency of the Year, moving up a spot from its Silver last year, for the award-winning McDonald’s “Our Food. Your Questions.” campaign, its custom disruptive newspaper ads for Subaru’s “Scorched” iniative and efforts for Lay’s “Do Us a Flavour” program, which included having the “like” button on the Lay’s Facebook newsfeed replaced with “I’d Eat This.”

Taxi picked up Silver for AOY, improving on its third-place finish last year, while BBDO took a Silver DAOY and Bronze for AOY. BBDO also took the honours for Campaign of the Year for its predominantly digital Ministry of Health and Long-term Care “Social Smokers” campaign that compared social smoking to other undesirable behaviours like “social farting,” garnering more than 90 million impressions.

Leo Burnett and Ogilvy/OgilvyOne picked up an Honourable Mention for AOY and DAOY respectively.

Completing the media honours, PHD snagged Silver, Media Experts won Bronze for a second straight year and the Honourable Mention went to Starcom MediaVest Group.

The Media Agency of the Year jury also judged this year’s Media Director of the Year, selecting Touché! PHD president Karine Courtemanche. They also chose the Next Media Star winner, Noise Digital’s Jacquie Albrecht, who was selected for work done when she was with Jungle Media.

Making an appearance were also this year’s Brands of the Year winners, which included representatives from McDonald’s, Samsung and Iögo. They introduced short videos created by the shortlisted creative agencies for the show and, for the first time, the audience was able to vote for their favourite in real time.

Finally, the B!G Award winners (announced in August) were also honoured. The Gold award, which celebrates agencies’ works beyond advertising, went to Grip for Kokanee’s The Movie Out Here campaign, with Ogilvy/OgilvyOne earning Silver for Dove’s Photoshop action and Taxi collecting Bronze for Boston Pizza’s “Rib Stain Camo T-shirt” idea.