ICA suspends 2022 Creative Power List

The ICA has suspended its 2022 Creative Power List rankings in response to “several queries” from agencies regarding point totals and their impact on overall rankings. The industry association announced the list last week.

“[I]t has become clear that further investigation with the industry leaders of the Creative Power Group is needed,” said ICA president and CEO Scott Knox in a notice explaining the decision. “The integrity of this transparent, industry owned recognition initiative is key.”

Speaking with The Message on Tuesday, Knox said he fielded calls from agencies questioning their place in the ranking of 160 agencies and creative suppliers. The list is based on point totals determined by an agency’s performance at domestic and five international awards shows.

“We had several agencies put pen to paper and send us spreadsheets of what [scores] they thought they’d achieved, which allowed us to directly compare them with the data spreadsheets we were given by the awarding organizations,” said Knox. “What was clear was that [the agencies’] list of what they thought they’d won as awards didn’t compare correctly with the data being given to us by the awarding organization.”

At the heart of the discrepancy, said Knox, is how the five international awards shows included in the rankings—the Cannes Lions, Clios, D&AD, The One Show and The Webby’s—allocate points. The ICA said that in supplying Canadian data, multiple international shows failed to include submissions where the Canadian office of a network was a “co-entrant or supplementary entrant,” and instead provided only winners where a Canadian agency was the lead entrant.

The ICA also found that for the purposes of its “Of the Year,” awards, The One Show does not include multiple wins in its ranking methodology. That means, for example, that if the same piece of work wins multiple awards within a discipline, only points for the highest award in that discipline will be counted.

Knox stressed that the consideration for the ICA is not the legitimacy of the methodologies used by individual shows, but whether they should be applied to the Canadian Creative Power List. “The ICA’s Creative Power Group has not discussed as a community how to apply, or not to apply them,” he said.

The ICA created the methodology for the Creative Power List in partnership with auditing, tax and consulting firm RSM Canada, and only accepts data from the awarding body, and not directly from any agency or brand.

An updated version of the Creative Power List will “absolutely” be made public this year, he said. The ICA’s Creative Power Group of agency creative and strategy leads is reconvening within the next two weeks to answer the following questions: How should the points of co-credited entries be handled? Does The One Show methodology of the highest award points apply.

“On answering these questions as a community and applying them to the Creative Power List methodology the list will be recalculated if needed and any revised version published,” said the ICA.

Knox said the ICA has not pulled down the first Creative Power List from 2021 (based on results from 2019), since some of the rule changes cited in the announcement were not in effect at the time. “Unless the Creative Power Group feels strongly that we need to go back and revise that one as well, what we’re focusing on is what does this data tell us about performance in 2021,” he said.

Knox said he’s not concerned the situation could have any negative impact on the industry’s perception of the Creative Power List going forward. The program has been characterized by its open and transparent nature from the outset, he said.

“At the end of the day, this is new information [that’s] material to the program and we need the Creative Power Group to make a decision on how it applies in Canada,” he said.

Chris Powell