Starcom MediaVest Group named Media Agency of the Year

And Mediaedge:cia's Bruce Neve was named strategy's Media Director of the Year at last night's gala in Toronto. Gold also went to Taxi, strategy's 2008 Agency of the Year, and Ogilvy was the B!G winner for its groundbreaking Dove play.

Toronto-based Starcom MediaVest Group took top honours in strategy‘s first juried Media Agency of the Year (MAOY) awards yesterday. President Lauren Richards accepted the award at a party at Circa nightclub in downtown Toronto.

Starcom won Gold on the strength of three media plans for Nintendo, Pogo and Johnnie Walker. The agency found a perfect match for Nintendo’s Wii game Big Brain Academy in Canwest’s property Are You Smarter than a Canadian 5th Grader?, integrating the brand into all stages of the game show process, from casting to the $25,000 question. For Pogo, Starcom leveraged a cheeky creative idea, ‘Be proud of your weiner,’ into a guerrilla-style stickering campaign that teased the teen target towards a big reveal, a ‘Mega-Pogothon’ on MusiquePlus in Quebec, in which boys competed to see who could hold their Pogo high the longest. Johnnie Walker’s Chinese New Year’s campaign brought the community together with personalized, branded Fai Cheuns (traditional red posters wishing wealth, luck and success in the New Year), which were distributed outside liquor stores to people who then put them up at their homes and businesses.

Last year’s Honourable Mention winner Mediaedge:cia took Silver for a Sears Electronics partnership with Global, as well as leveraging Molson on Facebook and bringing a little bit of Mexico to Canada for Corona. And the Toronto agency’s new president, Bruce Neve, was named Media Director of the Year.

Bronze was awarded to PHD, which has offices in Toronto and Montreal, for takeover programming for Dove’s Sleepover for Self Esteem, Parmalat’s Leo & Choc and a blackout of the sports news for the Quebec Foundation for the Blind. Toronto-based MediaCom took Honourable Mention for Rogers Wireless’ ‘Hockey Night in Canada Mashup,’ Pfizer’s ‘More than Medication’ campaign and TD Canada Trust’s ‘First Timer Mondays’; the agency won Silver last year.

At the event, the winners of the 2008 Agency of the Year awards were also announced. Toronto agencies Taxi and BBDO Canada took Gold and Silver respectively, while Vancouver-based DDB Canada took Bronze. Honourable Mention went to John St., while Zig and Ogilvy & Mather were named Finalists – all agencies are Toronto-based.

Ogilvy also won Gold in the B!G Awards, which recognize work beyond advertising, for its Dove Pro-Age Body and Soul play. B!G Silver went to Taxi for Koodo design, and Toronto’s Juniper Park took Bronze for portfolio management and restructuring for Frito-Lay North America.

This year, by popular demand, the Media Agency of the Year process mirrored the Agency of the Year case adjudication, in contrast to previous years, in which the winners were selected by a direct vote. This year execs at networks, newspapers and other media companies voted for their top three English and French agencies, as well as a media director. The top 12 agencies invited to the MAOY shortlist also included Carat, Cossette Media, Genesis Vizeum, M2 Universal, Media Experts, Mindshare, OMD and ZenithOptimedia.

Each agency was invited to submit three case summaries which were then passed on to the jury, made up of strategic and creative panels. This year the MAOY judges were:

-Susan Bowman, SVP marketing, Thomas Cook Canada

-Catherine Bridgman, formerly SVP marketing ventures, Canwest Broadcasting

-David Cairns, director of communications planning, Dentsu Canada

-Judy Davey, VP marketing assets, Molson Canada

-Laura Gaggi, president, Gaggi Media Communications

-Karen Lee, senior media manager, Coca-Cola Canada

-Anne Maclean, media and communications manager, Procter & Gamble Quebec

-Jeff Marchand, president/principal, Priority:Media

-Frédéric Rondeau, media director, Bos Montreal

-Nandini Sethuraman, VP private label and brand strategy, Spencer’s, India

-Paula Tillmann Peirce, professor of advertising, School of Business, Sheridan

To read MAOY winner profiles and cases please go to:

To read AOY winner profiles and cases please go to:

To read B!G winner profiles and cases please go to: