Strategic thinking, creative execution key criteria

The agency of the Year competition by Strategy is structured in a way that would evaluate an advertising agency's performance on the basis of its work over the past year - judged from the perspectives of strategic thinking and creative execution.The...

The agency of the Year competition by Strategy is structured in a way that would evaluate an advertising agency’s performance on the basis of its work over the past year – judged from the perspectives of strategic thinking and creative execution.

The process began with the selection of the agencies.

Screening

The screening lasted about a month and consisted of the editorial department’s observations over the past year, plus an informal poll of a wide number of contacts in the agency and client communities.

Key to our selection was the question: from all we have reported, seen and heard over the past year, which agencies have stood out on the basis of the work they did?

Twelve agencies

Twelve agencies made the cut.

In alphabetical order, they were: BCP; Chiat/Day (which had won our Agency of the Year competition two years in a row); Cossette Communication-Marketing; Doner Schur Peppler; Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners Advertising; Leo Burnett; MacLaren:Lintas; McKim Baker Lovick/BBDO; Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising; TAXI; Wasserman Cozens Dundon and Young & Rubicam.

All agencies are Toronto-based, with the exception of Montreal-based Cossette, taxi and bcp and Vancouver-based Wasserman Cozens Dundon.

This exercise was conducted in late September and early October, well before the results of our Creative Report Card were known (see page XX 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 – five advertising people, a commercial director and six clients – had no say in which agencies should be invited.

In the second stage of the competition, each of the 12 agencies was asked to prepare its submission. Although there was no entry fee, the agencies involved were asked to put considerable effort into the preparation of their submissions.

Five ideas

They were asked to submit five advertising ideas representing work they had done for five clients over the past year. The submissions could be anything the agencies wanted them to be: either one selected item (as in a 30-second tv spot) or a full-fledged multimedia campaign.

It was left up to each agency to select the work, but they were told to keep in mind the judges would make their judgments on the basis of an agency’s ability to work in different product categories and across different media.

Criteria

The criteria on which the work would be judged were strategic thinking and creative execution.

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

The judges

The judges never met as a group. Instead, the 12 portfolios were delivered by courier to each of the judges individually, who reviewed the work over a two-day span.

Each was provided a scoresheet and asked to pick his or her three favorite ads and provide us some general comments.

The judges were asked to treat the competition as if it were an Olympics-style contest, in which they awarded an agency points for ‘best overall performance.’

They were asked to score each agency’s body of work on a scale of 0 to 10.

Numerical tally

The final selection was made on the basis of a straight numerical tally.

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

The Agency of the Year achieved the highest total score from both panels.