Canada more than doubles its One Show finalist performance from 2019

The finalists in one of the industry’s most revered global awards shows were announced early Wednesday, and Canadian agencies and brands have 152 entries on the list—more than twice the number that made the list in 2019.

The strong showing on The One Show’s finalist list is led by FCB and FCB/Six, which together account for 39 of the 152 entries: 18 of FCB’s 24 finalist entries are for “Project Understood” for the Canadian Down Syndrome Society with Google, while all 15 of FCB/Six’s nods are for the much-awarded “Go Back to Africa” initiative for Black & Abroad, which won multiple awards including a Grand Prix in Cannes last year.

“I was gobsmacked when I saw that,” said FCB Canada’s chief creative officer Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, of the strong showing for “Project Understood.” The project’s objective was to make voice assistants more effective by training Google’s software to recognize the distinct speech patterns of those living with Down syndrome

“It’s not an advertising idea, it’s an innovation idea,” she said. “It’s an idea that really has the capacity to change people’s lives beyond Down syndrome, it has the capacity to change the lives of anyone who has atypical speech or a speech disability.

“I’m incredibly proud of the fact that this is not a one-and-done kind of project. This is a project that will get better over time as more data is collected, and make technology better for everyone for the long term. This is what we call a never-finished idea.”

Matching FCB/Six’s performance is Rethink, with 15 nominations for six different clients: Fondation Émergence, Raptors Republic, IKEA Canada, Kraft Heinz Canada, the Government of Ontario and East West Market.

Any entry on the finalist list will receive either a coveted One Show Pencil or a Merit, with the winners announced at a virtual event the middle of next month (details are yet to be finalized). The One Show awards, presented by The One Club for Creativity, are typically handed out during Creativity Week in New York, which was cancelled this year because of the pandemic.

While some awards shows like Cannes were cancelled outright, The One Club, which was further along in its submissions and judging process when the COVID crisis hit, opted to continue with its awards programs—which include the just-announced ADC winners last week, with Canadian winners here and here—but take the process online.

Judges this year chose 1,669 finalists from 46 countries, up from 1,558 finalists across 40 countries last year. McCann New York continued its hot streak, leading the way globally with 61 finalists, followed by BBDO New York with 39. “Moldy Whopper” is the entry with the most finalist list appearances, with 23.

While it’s officially an entry from McCann in the U.S., McCann Toronto has 11 chances to win a Pencil for “Second Chances” a campaign developed by three different McCann offices: Costa Mesa, New York and Toronto. It too was a big winner in Cannes last June.

“People in the industry are eager for some good news, we’ve been inundated with inquiries about who made the final cut for The One Show,” said Kevin Swanepoel, CEO, The One Club.  “In a year when other awards have been cancelled, The One Show is the leading global awards program to elevate and celebrate the broad range of advertising and design work from around the world.”

Other top Canadian showings on the list include:

  • BBDO Toronto, which was shortlisted 12 times for “Parkscapes,” for the Regent Park School of Music;
  • Taxi also has 12 shots at a Pencil, seven of those for the United Way’s “The Unignorable Tower”;
  • Bensimon Byrne with Narrative and OneMethod made the list 10 times for Casey House, six times for “The HIV+ Episodes,” three times for “Losing Friends” and once for “The Toxic Office”;
  • No Fixed Address appears on the finalist list nine times: five times for “SickKids Airbnb” for SickKids Foundation, and four times for “Lolli: The Exhibit Nobody Wants to Talk about,” which won a Gold Cube at the ADC;
  • Sid Lee’s Canadian offices appear on the list nine times for five different clients: CN, Protect our Winters, the City of Montreal, H&R Block and TA2 Sound + Music. Sid Lee Paris is also nominated once;
  • Cossette has seven nominations: one for Destination Canada, three for Amnesty International and three for SickKids Foundation;
  • lg2 is on the list six times: three times for Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, twice for 13th Street Winery and once for Casper;
  • Zulu Alpha Kilo also has six chances to win for three different clients: HomeEquity Bank, Peace Collective, and SingleCut Beersmiths;
  • Jam3 Toronto appears five times, all for Adidas;
  • Wunderman Thompson was also shortlisted four times for The Royal Canadian Legion;
  • Grey Canada has three chances to win, twice for the Diabetes Association of Canada and once for P&G;
  • Leo Burnett Toronto is on the list once for 7 West Restaurant, and twice with Leo Burnett Vietnam for McDonald’s;
  • TBWA\Juniper Park is on the list three times, twice for Save Our Libraries and once for Brady United;
  • Saatchi & Saatchi Toronto is there twice, both for GSK Canada’s Buckley’s brand;
  • DentsuBos and Brita are there twice for “The Walkumentary”;
  • Digital creative turned NASA contractor Ben Feist received two nominations for his work on “Apollo in Real Time.”

Single nominations went to: John St., One Twenty Three West, Skin and Bones Film Company and The Local Collective.


David Brown