How the judging process worked

Our Agency of the Year competition was structured in a way that would fairly and objectively test an ad agency's performance in strategic thinking and creative execution. The process began with the selection of agencies. The editorial department of Strategy acted...

Our Agency of the Year competition was structured in a way that would fairly and objectively test an ad agency’s performance in strategic thinking and creative execution.

The process began with the selection of agencies.

The editorial department of Strategy acted as a screening agent to identify the agencies that deserved to be in the running.

The screening lasted about a month and consisted of both our own observations over the past year, plus an informal poll of a wide number of contacts in the agency and client communities.

The question we asked was: from all we have seen or heard over the past year, which agencies have earned their way into the competition?

This exercise was conducted early in October, well before the results of our Creative Report Card were complete (see page 23 for an explanation of the Creative Report Card rules.)

The selection of agencies was handled entirely by Strategy, as was the selection of judges. The judges had no say in which agencies should be invited into the competition.

Each of the 12 agencies was provided the following brief:

The brief

Strategy will be selecting an advertising Agency of the Year for 1992, to be announced in our Dec. 14 issue.

The Agency of the Year will be one of several features in that issue which will focus on ad agencies and the advertising that they create. The issue will also include our fourth annual Creative Report Card.

The Agency of the Year selection will be made on the basis of an ad agency’s advertising work over the past year, as judged by two panels of marketing and advertising people.

One panel, composed of clients, will assess the work from the standpoint of strategic thinking. Another panel of agency creative people will judge the work on the basis of its creative execution.

We are treating this as an Olympics-style contest.

Strategy has invited a field of 12 agencies into the competition.

These are agencies which, we feel, on the basis of our observations of work done over the past year, deserve to be in the running.

A simple numerical scoring system will be used to determine the winners.

There is no entry fee. However, you will be asked to put some effort into the preparation of your submission.

The criteria

The work must have appeared for the first time some time during 1992.

The work

You are being asked to submit five advertising ideas representing work you have done for five different clients.

The submissions can be anything you wish them to be: either one selected item (as in a 30-second television spot), or it can be a full-fledged multi-media campaign.

You have been invited into the competition as an agency. It is, therefore, up to you to select the work. It can come from any of your offices.

In order to bring a national perspective to the competition, our judging panels will include members from the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver markets.

The judging

The client and agency panels will be asked to judge the advertising product of each agency (the five ideas you have submitted) as `a body of work.’

They will be asked to vote as though they were judges at an Olympic event – say a gymnastics competition – and they were awarding points for best overall performance.

They will be asked to score each agency’s performance on a scale of 0 to 10.

They will be asked to make their judgments on the basis of an agency’s ability to work in different product categories and in different media.

(In other words, they will be looking for both versatility and consistency.) You should keep this in mind when preparing your submissions.

The panels

There will be two panels.

One will consist of at least six people from the client community. This panel will be asked to rate each agency’s ‘body of work’ on the basis of its demonstrated strengths in strategic thinking.

The second panel will be made up of agency creative people. This panel will be asked to rate the submissions on the basis of the creative execution.

The judging panels will not meet as groups. The submissions will be delivered to the judges individually and they will review the work on their own.

You should also consider this when preparing your submission. Each judge will likely review the work at home, probably over a one- or two-evening span.

The submissions should be assembled in an easily portable, well-organized, easy-to-follow package.

The judges will fill out a score sheet supplied by Strategy. Their responses will be confidential.

The winners will be selected on the basis of a straight numerical tally.

Each agency will be given two aggregate scores, one from each panel.

The Agency of the Year will be the agency that achieves the highest total score from both panels.