BBDO tops ICA’s first ‘Creative Power List’

The ICA has introduced a new system ranking Canadian agencies based on awards show performance. The first ranking, based on 2019 awards shows, puts BBDO atop the list, followed by FCB/Six and Cossette (see the top 10 below).

The “Creative Power List” is compiled using a sliding scale of points from a handful of key global and domestic awards shows. The ICA said the awards shows were selected by a group of leading Canadian creative directors, with the ranking system developed in consultation with audit firm RSM.

The Canadian awards shows used for the ranking are the ADCC Awards, the CMA Awards, Effie Awards Canada, and the Marketing Awards. Globally, the ICA is using Cannes Lions, the Clios, D&AD, The One Show and The Webby’s.

The first Creative Power List is based on 2019 awards because of the extraordinary circumstances created by the pandemic, which led many agencies to cut their awards budgets and the ICA itself to call for a pause on awards show spending in 2020.

The ranking is intended to help agencies make better decisions about how they use their awards show budgets said ICA president and CEO Scott Knox. People in the industry have increasingly been questioning the value of awards shows in recent years, he said.

“Everywhere in the world [there is] a feeling there are too many awards shows,” he said. That issue became more of a concern during the pandemic, when agency leaders started asking new questions about how they spent their money on awards shows. “What are we doing? What’s it all for? Why are we spending this money?” said Knox.

During a discussion about the issue, Juniper Park’s Graham Lang, part of the ICA’s Creative Power Group, directed Knox to the Creative Circle, a system in South Africa that ranks the country’s most important awards, creating a transparent guideline for which are most important. That was the inspiration for the Creative Power List, which Knox said will help Canadian agency leaders decide how to spend their awards show budgets.

“They will be able to control their expenditure on the awards that matter,” he said. “And they will be able to be really focused on making sure they totally understand how those [awards] schemes work.”

“Judging and recognizing creative performance has never been more expensive and onerous for agencies because of the vast number of awards schemes, both on a national and international level,” said Lang in a release announcing the new ranking system. “The Creative Power List is designed to cut through the confusion by providing a transparent, authoritative guide to creative excellence by placing a firm emphasis on the awards that truly matter.”

The ICA runs the Effie Awards in Canada, but Knox said the awards shows included in the ranking were chosen by the Creative Power Group.

“The group was given free rein over three months and several sessions to select, review and debate the programs to be selected. The ICA is pleased that one of the schemes included is Effie Awards Canada,” he said. “[M]arketing effectiveness is a key component of how our industry is evaluated and the Effies brand is an internationally recognized mark of excellence in work that worked.”

The ICA developed the scoring system with RSM, and explains the methodology here.

David Brown