Rethink tops ICA’s Creative Power List

Rethink’s work for clients including Kraft Heinz, Fondation Émergence, and IKEA has helped it retain top spot on the Institute of Canadian Agencies’ Creative Power List, an annual ranking of the country’s most creative agencies based on their performance in both major international and domestic awards shows.

Developed with auditing partner Grant Thornton LLP—which replaces previous partner RSM Canada—the Creative Power List ranks 115 agencies based on their collective performance in shows including the four top international shows— Cannes Lions, the Clios, D&AD, and The One Show—as well as domestic shows including the ADCC Awards, CMA Awards, Effie Awards Canada, and Marketing Awards.

ICA says the rankings are a barometer of creative performance because they reflect the world’s most prestigious awards shows and are subject to a “strict methodology,” with points awarded based on relative basis: A gold in Cannes, D&AD and One Show is worth 500 points, for example, compared to 250 points at the Clios, 150 at Effie Canada and 62.5 at CMAs. (See the top 10 overall at right, along with the 10 most improved from last year below.)

“It’s important for us to understand the awards that really matter when we’re going to create any form of league table that recognizes excellence in the agency sector,” said ICA president and CEO Scott Knox.

The ICA was forced to temporarily suspend last year’s Creative Power List after receiving questions from agencies regarding the assigned point totals and their impact on overall rankings.

Knox said the issue stemmed from multiple international shows failing to include submissions where the Canadian office of a network was a “co-entrant or supplementary entrant,” instead providing only winners where a Canadian agency was the lead entrant.

Knox took the feedback to mean they viewed the Creative Power List with a degree of importance and were engaged with the process.

“Seeing last year that people were really bothered about where they ranked, and the scores and points they were given, and going through the methodology with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it [corresponded] with their scores, means they were tallying up themselves” he said.

“It did throw us a bit of a curveball, but it was the right curveball for us to juggle, and we were really glad to hear that feedback from the industry and move forward.”

Performance Art was among 57 new agencies on this year’s Creative Power List, ranking eighth overall. Other new additions to this year’s list include Narrative, DonerNorth, and Citizen Relations.

This year’s Creative Power List also saw some significant changes within the top 10, with Zulu Alpha Kilo’s much-awarded work for clients including Pfaff Harley-Davidson, Campbell’s and Home Equity Bank helping it move up nine places to second overall. Bensimon Bryne, meanwhile, moved up 11 places to third overall, largely on the basis of its work with White Ribbon.

Knox said that the Creative Power List initiative, chaired by Taxi’s Graham Lang, will reconvene in person later this month to assess the scoring methodology. This year’s list can be seen here.

Chris Powell