The 2021 Agency of the Year awards kick off

Agencies that plan to enter the program will need to state their intent before June 18.

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Another year, another portflio of work to flaunt at the Agency of the Year awards.

The 2021 program officially kicks off today, and Strategy is asking agencies to submit the campaigns they intend to enter before June 18.

Agency of the Year is an annual competition where agencies across different disciplines – creative, media, digital, PR and design – vie for the title of Canada’s top shops based on a portfolio of work.

Some changes were made to the program last year in light of the business pressures the pandemic placed on the industry. To ease case entry prep, agencies in the main AOY category were only required to enter four cases, instead of five. Media agencies were not encouraged to submit case videos. And shortlisted AOY shops were not asked to submit showreels for the virtual gala.

As the crisis begins to slow and agencies return to entering awards, all of those criteria amendments have been removed.

What to do?

Starting today, agencies will need to fill out this form before the deadline in order to state their intent to enter the program.

In it, they will submit the (1) name of the client, (2) the name of the campaign, and (3) the dates when the campaign was in market, for the five (for Agency of the Year) and/or three (Media, Digital, PR, Design or Small Agency of the Year) cases they plan to submit in June/July.

As always, the work must have appeared (or will appear) in the 13-month period from June 2020 to July 2021. All of the campaigns have to be for different brands, cannot include self-promotional work and must be Canadian (if it’s a global campaign created here, it must have appeared in this market).

What also remains is our strict no double-dipping policy: agencies must submit unique campaigns for each competition. For example, an agency can’t enter the same work for a specific CPG brand in Agency of the Year and Design AOY, even if it just includes design-driven creative (like a poster or website) that was a part of the overall campaign also entered into AOY.

The entry fee ($750) is payable when the cases are uploaded and is a cost per agency for each award category, not per case.

What comes next?

Once an agency’s campaigns have been vetted and approved by the editorial team, they will be invited to submit their full written case studies and visual assets for our expert judges to review.

The submission period will take place between June 28 and July 19.

Following this phase, the cases in each category will be judged by senior Canadian agency executives and marketers to determine a shortlist of agencies, which will be announced later in the summer. The Gold, Silver and Bronze winners for each competition will be revealed this fall, and winning portfolios will once again be published in strategy‘s end-of-year magazine, continuing our long-held tradition.

To read about last year’s winners and for more extensive entry details, visit the Agency of the Year website.