Strategy’s 2000 Creative Report Card: Intro

No one in this industry really cares about awards....

No one in this industry really cares about awards.

This is what we hear all the time: At the end of the day, the advertising business isn’t about going to award shows and collecting big, shiny paperweights. Of course not. It’s about doing ads that help clients sell their products. Nothing else matters.

That being the case, you’re probably not the least bit interested in Strategy’s Creative Report Card, which charts the results of the major advertising awards programs of the past 12 months.

Sure, you could waste precious minutes scanning the lists on the following pages for your name. But what would be the benefit, beyond a cheap ego-boost? No, the time would be better spent perfecting that retail newspaper campaign, or poring over those invaluable research findings. You’ll probably just toss this section aside, and then buckle down to serious work. Bye now.

Still there?

Thought so. Right, here’s the poop, then: for the fourth straight year, Vancouver-based Palmer Jarvis DDB has taken first place in the Creative Report Card, beating runners-up BBDO Canada and Ammirati Puris by what might tactfully be described as a ‘comfortable margin.’ (A less tactful way of framing it would be to note that the agency accumulated more than three times the points of second-place BBDO.) PJDDB also finished first in four of the five major media categories.

As even small schoolchildren now know, Palmer Jarvis DDB lost star creative director Chris Staples in October 1999, when he left to co-found his own agency, Rethink Communications of Vancouver. Nevertheless, much of the work for which PJDDB claimed honours this year was done on his watch. Which is why Staples topped the creative director category for a fourth straight year.

Ian Grais, who also fled PJDDB for Rethink, came first overall in the art director category, in addition to ranking second after Staples on the creative director list. Meanwhile, his former creative partner Alan Russell, who remained at Palmer Jarvis, led the copywriter category. It’s the fourth straight year that both of them have finished top of their respective classes.

In the client category, Unilever ranked first overall, followed by Playland (until recently, a Palmer Jarvis account) and St. John’s Ambulance (PJDDB again).

As always, a few explanatory notes are in order.

The Creative Report Card is undertaken separately from the Agency of the Year, in which Strategy asks a panel of clients and advertising professionals to

evaluate work from a shortlist of agencies. (In case you missed our front-page headline, Palmer Jarvis DDB also won that competition, for the second straight year.)

While the Agency of the Year competition evaluates current work, the Creative Report Card tends to reflect the performance of agencies during the previous year, since there’s generally something of a lag between the time advertising creative is developed and the time it reaches the awards circuit. In other words, this year’s report card largely reflects the work done in 1999.

While we’d like to think that this ranking provides a valuable service to the community, we would also caution against reading too much into the results. The Creative Report Card does not purport to reveal the names of the ‘best’ creative directors, art directors or copywriters in the country. Never has. Nor does a low number of points mean that one ranks among the ‘worst.’ Strategy is not in the business of making this kind of subjective judgment.

All we are trying to do is provide a comprehensive record of whose work the industry has honoured most highly in the course of the previous year.

Strategy has developed a grading system that provides a cumulative measure of the hundreds of individual advertising awards handed out in 2000. Here’s how it works:

We assign a point value to each gold, silver, bronze and certificate of merit (or the equivalents), weighted according to the relative importance of each awards program, as judged by our editorial staff.

National awards programs are assigned greater weight than regional shows. (The weighting of some of the regional shows was reduced this year, when several national agencies pointed out that they were disadvantaged by their inability to enter these competitions.)

In the same way, awards shows that honour a cross-section of media are assigned greater weight than those that look at only a single medium.

By adding up the points accorded to each award-winning piece of advertising, Strategy is in turn able to assign points to each agency, client, creative director, art director and copywriter whose work is honoured.

The Creative Report Card uses, as its foundation, the results of the major national and regional advertising awards programs that recognize excellence in consumer advertising. This year, for the first time, we have also incorporated the results of several key international shows, to give proper acknowledgement to the successes that Canadian creatives enjoy on the global stage.

The Canadian programs that we currently include in our tally are:

• The Ad Rodeo awards (all media), presented by an independent advertising industry committee based in Calgary, Alta.

• The Advertising and Design Club of Canada awards (all media), presented by the Advertising and Design Club of Canada.

• The Applied Arts awards (all media), presented by Applied Arts magazine.

• The Bessies (TV), presented by the Television Bureau of Canada.

• The Billi awards (outdoor), presented by the Outdoor Advertising Association of Canada.

• Les Coqs d’Or (all media), presented by the Publicité Club de Montreal.

• The Crystals (radio), presented by the Radio Marketing Bureau.

• The Extras (newspaper), presented by the Canadian Newspaper Association.

• The Lotus Awards (all media), presented by the Advertising Agency Association of British Columbia. (Note: Because the Lotuses fall so late in the calendar year, the results of the previous fall’s awards show are used.)

• The Marketing Awards (all media), presented by Marketing Magazine.

The six international shows that we included this year are: the Cannes International Advertising Festival; the Clio Awards; Communication Arts; The Golden Marble Awards; the London International Advertising Awards; and The One Show.

A summary of the top performers in each category appears to the right.

It may be hard to believe, but since the various awards were announced, some creatives may have switched agencies. To be consistent, they will be listed with the agency for which they won the award. In cases where an individual has won awards for more than one agency, each agency is listed.

Awards programs and annuals were our reference for all credits.

Due to limited editorial space, listings below 10 points have not necessarily been included.

Also in this report:

- Top of the Class listing p.B1

- The lists p.B2