Starcom MediaVest Group wins strategy Media Agency of the Year

At an awards ceremony in Toronto last night, SMG CEO Lauren Richards also won strategy Media Director of the Year, while DDB Canada took strategy Agency of the Year Gold, and Juniper Park won strategy's B!G Award top honours.

Starcom MediaVest Group has been named strategy‘s Media Agency of the Year (MAOY) by MiC‘s sister publication for the second year in a row.

The Toronto-based media agency known for its creative work, won on the strength of outstanding media plans for Swiffer, Special K and Kraft’s Tassimo brewer.

Starcom CEO Lauren Richards was also named strategy’s Media Director of the Year.

Silver strategy Media Agency of the Year honours went to Toronto-based OMD for media campaigns for McDonald’s, Doritos and Pepsi Amp, while Cossette took Bronze strategy MAOY for work for BC Tourism, Fanta and Cuffwear. Independent Montreal-based shop Media Experts came fourth, earning an honourable mention for its work for WestJet, Kodak and Telus TV HD. Other agencies on the shortlist included Carat, Initiative, M2 Universal, MediaCom, Mediaedge:cia, Mindshare, PHD and ZenithOptimedia.

At the same event in Toronto last night, Vancouver-based advertising agency DDB Canada was revealed as strategy‘s 20th annual Agency of the Year (AOY). DDB last won the strategy AOY title in 2007.

This year their teen-targeted work for the BC Dairy Foundation crossed traditional media boundaries with 14 quirky animated ads – each with its own signature style – illustrating the pitfalls of not getting enough of the wholesome drink, half of which ran on TV and in cinemas, and the other half online. The jury also applauded the agency’s campaigns for Midas Canada, Capital One, Canadian Tourism Commission, and the Vancouver eating disorder treatment facility Looking Glass Foundation.

‘The work agencies are doing now is light years away from the TV/print/radio-centric campaigns we saw two decades ago,’ says strategy executive editor Mary Maddever. ‘Beyond the leap to digital and 2009′s ongoing love affair with social media, the best brands now treat everything as a possible medium, and use the power of persuasion to affect perspective both more subtly, and more strategically. The strategy Agency of the Year and Media Agency of the Year work doesn’t just mirror pop culture, it gets out in front with a whistle.’

DDB was closely followed by Silver strategy AOY winner, Vancouver indie agency Rethink, who made headlines earlier this year after client The Dogwood Initiative received a Cease-and-Desist order from the Canadian Mint for their No Tankers campaign, featuring peel-off decals on loonies which makes the iconic loon look as if it is immersed in an oil spill.

In third place was Toronto-based agency Zig which took strategy AOY Bronze for work that included the first commerical use of an ultrasonic sound cannon for Scream TV (now Dusk), followed by Honourable Mention winner Lowe Roche, also of Toronto. Rounding out the pack as Finalists were Taxi – last year’s Gold winner – and Ogilvy & Mather, both of Toronto.

Other agencies on the shortlist this year included Toronto-based BBDO, John St., Leo Burnett Canada, as well as Montreal’s Bleublancrouge and Sid Lee, and TBWAVancouver.

In the awards-packed night, Toronto-based Juniper Park took top prize in strategy‘s B!G Awards, now in its fourth year, for a tailor-made regional customer activation program for Frito-Lay North America that drew attention to the locally grown ingredients and manufacture of Lay’s potato chips across the US. The competition recognizes the scope of work that agencies are doing beyond advertising. Silver went to Toronto’s Capital C for the social media-only launch of the Nissan Cube, and Bronze went to Ogilvy & Mather’s mini-documentary in support of the local food movement for Hellmann’s Mayonnaise.

For more information on all the night’s winners, including profiles on the winning agencies, judges and how winners were determined, visit