Who’s top of the class?

It's back to school time, and we here at strategy have been doing our bit on the education, adjudication and homework fronts. We've been canvassing the industry over the summer to identify the best and the brightest, and to bring their work to your attention.

It’s back to school time, and we here at strategy have been doing our bit on the education, adjudication and homework fronts. We’ve been canvassing the industry over the summer to identify the best and the brightest, and to bring their work to your attention.

One of those homework assignments was researching the sequel to last year’s Cojones special report. Last time out we asked industry icons like Frank Palmer and Phil Donne to identify Canada’s NextGen marketing icons – the folks who get ‘er done, and lead and inspire by example. This time around we asked last year’s crop to tell us which of their peers are also making their mark on the industry, and the result is another impressive list of marketing execs whose accomplishments range from helping kids in need or fighting pollution, to rejuvenating iconic Canadian brands. Go ahead, peek (page 29).

And to spread the homework around, strategy’s fiercely competitive Agency of the Year process is underway. We polled over 50 of you to find out which agencies’ work warranted an invitation to vie for AOY status this year. Prompted by a list describing each agency’s recent campaigns, senior marketers and agency execs responded with a simple vote of yes or no to determine the field. That exercise yielded the following (longish) shortlist:

BBDO

Bleu Blanc Rouge

Bos

Cossette

DDB

Dentsu

John St.

Lowe Roche

Leo Burnett

Ogilvy & Mather

Rethink

Sid Lee

Taxi

Zig

The agencies have submitted their five-campaign entries, and the judging of creative and strategic merit has begun. The names of the marketers and agency execs judging this year’s AOY will remain shrouded in secrecy for now, lest the temptation to share ‘contextual’ material of any nature overwhelms anyone. All we will share is that this could be quite a shake-up year.

And in the interest of furthering industry learning and identifying the next level of marketer/agency partnerships, once again we invited case submissions for the B!G awards, strategy’s recognition of the work Beyond Advertising that agencies are involved in. B!G showcases Big Ideas with Big Impact. And to please the marketers who helped shape this award – and anyone else interested in hearing about efforts with significant market impact – the Big part also pertains to the client. Eligible projects are for companies that spend $20 million on media and represent $2 million in revenue for the agency. (The media spend is at the P&G level, rather than at a brand level, and is intended to identify companies that could source any expertise desired for these non-advertising projects, indicating a big vote of confidence in the partnership with their agencies.)

On the media front, we also enlisted the industry’s participation over the summer to find out who’s on top of their game, asking which shops have impressed with their innovation and knowledge, and to determine the top Rising Media Star. The results of voting on Media Agency of the Year and Media Director of the Year are particularly intriguing this year. However, in the spirit of back-to-school, you will have to wait a spell to see how everyone did.

The top Rising Media Star will be revealed at the strategy Media Forum this month, but AOY, MAOY and B!G marks will not be delivered until the November issue (in case you had any OTB action in mind). The AOY awards show is earlier this year, November 1st in fact, at which time we’ll also celebrate the Media Agency and Media Director of the Year, and B!G winners.

To everyone who participated in polling, voting, writing cases and judging, thanks for your time! And to all the contenders, good luck. Cheers,mm

Mary Maddever, exec editor, strategy and Media In Canada