Strategic thinking, creative execution were key criteria

The Agency of the Year competition in Strategy evaluates 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.Agency selectionThe process began with the selection of...

The Agency of the Year competition in Strategy evaluates 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.

Agency selection

The process began with the selection of the agencies.

The screening, which lasted a little more than a month, 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 seen and heard over the past year, which agencies have stood out on the basis of the work they did?

Made the cut

Ten agencies made the cut.

In alphabetical order, they were: bbdo; bcp; Chiat/Day; Cossette Communication-Marketing; Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners Advertising; Leo Burnett Company; MacLaren: Lintas; Padulo Integrated; Taxi Advertising, and Vickers & Benson Advertising.

(All agencies are Toronto-based, with the exception of Montreal-based bcp, Cossette and Taxi.)

Handled internally

The selection of agencies was handled entirely by Strategy, as was the selection of judges.

The judges – six advertising people and six clients – had no say in which agencies should be invited.

Prepare submission

In the second stage of the competition, each of the 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 commercial) or a full-fledged campaign using a variety of media.

Different categories

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

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

National perspective

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 never met as a group.

Instead, the 10 portfolios were delivered by courier to each of the judges individually, who reviewed the work over a two- or three-day span.

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.’

Score work

They were asked to score each agency’s body of work on a scale of 0 to 10. They were also asked to pick their three favorite ads and provide us some general comments.

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

Aggregate scores

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

The Agency of the Year received the highest average score from both panels.