Watch all of the AOY videos

The shortlisted agencies show us the funny in videos created for strategy's Agency of the Year Awards gala.

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We’ve heard, from a number of very reliable sources, that strategy‘s Agency of the Year is considered the “Super Bowl of advertising.” We’re not surprised, really. The showreels from the handful of AOY shortlisted shops are almost as much of a surprise as the winners themselves. Most are hilarious, and they’ve become yet another reason to attend the annual show.

There is no brief for these videos, rather all we ask is that agencies show off their culture and have fun (but mostly, creative shops use this as an opportunity to see who can make the industry laugh the loudest).

Here’s how the shortlisted agencies decided to show off their creativity at last night’s Agency of the Year gala, which took place at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. To read about the 12 agency winners, from creative, digital, media and PR shops, click here.

Zulu Alpha Kilo shows the ridiculous side of spec work

It’s no secret that Zulu Alpha Kilo has a “no spec work” policy. It’s proud of the fact that it can compete with other shops without having to break the bank with pitch projects, and now it’s making a bold statement in the video below, showing other agencies, if they had to look at it from other perspectives, that the process is actually a little (to put it bluntly) irrational.

John St. meets Jane St.

Trends, trends, trends. No other agency loves to poke fun at the industry’s current fascination more than John St. It’s become the agency king (and now queen) of trend parody videos, having launched a new (fake) sister shop to address advertising’s newest fixation: female empowerment. In the video below, the new division (aptly named Jane St.) gets a grand opening, and with it, a host of experts explaining how they’re taking female-focused advertising to the next level. It’s even gone so far as to create a new website for said agency, where you can upload your logo to become “empowered” (or pink-ified, to be more technical).

Cossette celebrates heroes in the shadows of awards shows

Who are those creatures so quiet in their awards task? They’re disciplined, wear a handful of different hats, and never resort to tantrums when a creative forgets their name (unlike said creative when they’re not credited in an awards show annual). They’re the unsung heroes of advertising, and Cossette believes it’s their time to shine. So it created a mockumentary to give the industry a fly-on-the-wall look at just what it takes to lead an agency’s award submissions.

BBDO and Taxi go where no targeting should ever go

Stop marketing to millennials. They’re clearly not interested. You’ve got to think “outside the millennial” if you want sell stuff. Play the long game by thinking about how to target the next generation of consumers: the newborns and pre-newborns, says BBDO at one of its “Speaker Series” in the video below.

But BBDO isn’t the only agency jumping ahead of itself. Taxi is also starting to get into the business of fetus targeting. And the best part? Its clients are already on board. Now, before you scoff, maybe reflect on the idea for a minute, these guys might be onto something…

Rethink pays back the many years of favours

Many production partner hands make light work when it comes to Agency of the Year showreels. But those hands rarely hold money for the work they put in helping agencies create their show videos. There are lots of backs being scratched, but this year, Rethink wanted to return the many years of favours by not making them create a video, but  instead giving their partners an all-expenses-paid day of fun.

J. Walter Thompson gets a cost-cutting reality check

Making showreels for Agency of the Year can mean a big production… or more like, a big pain in the ass for the budget-conscious consultants who aren’t so fond of making expensive videos for awards shows. In this video, J. Walter Thompson’s cost-cutting consultants put a damper on the creative groove at the agency, going through a laundry list of things its video won’t have this year. Luckily, you don’t need big budgets to get a laugh.

Ogilvy shows how advertising saves lives

Advertising has come a long way since the rollerblading babe in television commercials. It was much simpler back then. Today, advertising needs to do more than sell beer, it needs to help that beer change, and maybe even heal, the world while it’s at it.

Leo Burnett presents: The Intern of Bloor Street

Remember what it was like to be new to the biz? To be a low-paid, fresh-faced, googly-eyed intern with the fire to put your all into your job? If you’ve forgotten (or claim that never happened), then maybe you should watch this video to jog your memory.

Cundari gives the industry a big pat on the back

Agency of the Year is a tough awards show. There’s only 12 metal planes to give out to the top creative, digital, media and PR shops, of which there are up to 60. So if you don’t go home with a prize, it pretty much sucks. But that’s about to change, as Cundari believes it’s not winning, but taking part, that counts. (And we hear they actually sent these awards to the “non-winners” so check your mailboxes!)

DDB / Tribal Worldwide know how to play nice

We like this video for two reasons: it features dogs (who doesn’t like dogs?), and it teaches us a valuable life lesson. It’s short, it’s sweet and we could easily watch it on repeat.

TBWA: the nicest agency in Canada

Agency bosses give their staff bad news almost on a daily basis. There’s no avoiding it, but there are ways to break the bad news gently. TBWA is a fan of this management style, and recently starting sugar-coating its last-minute changes, rescheduled meetings, late-night work requests and all the other lovely things the ad industry is so fond of.

Grey does traditional, but not traditionally 

It’s not surprising that the fictional agency in this video, dubbed BlackHawk Collective, is as intense as its moniker has you believe. It’s not a traditional shop. Think of it as an agency on creative steroids, ready to take on any and every brief you throw at it with ideas that go beyond the expected and into the elaborate, jargon-filled world of advertising. Well, unless you want something simple. It can do that too.

Sid Lee makes things ‘Cheap Lee’ for clients

Clients keep asking agencies to do more, for less, so Sid Lee finally decided to give them just that. No need to say more, the video explains the rest (we think).