A great Creative Week 2023 for BBDO Canada got even better Friday night in New York, when it was named Agency of the Year and “Missing Matoaka” won two Best of Discipline awards to close out the One Show.
The special project for Muskrat Magazine—which was named the Best in Experiential & Immersive, and Radio & Audio—sought to dispel some of the harmful stereotypes about Indigenous women by sharing the true story of the young girl Matoaka, popularly known in modern Western culture as Pocahontas.
BBDO and TA2 Sound+Music worked with Indigenous writing and voice talent to create an audio track that synched with one of the most well-known Pocahontas movies, which told a romanticized version of the story. In fact, Matoaka was kidnapped and sexually assaulted, and eventually died at just 20 while trying to flee England.
The skillful audio work that was so integral to the project was instrumental in TA2 being named Music & Sound Company of the Year.
When TA2 was approached about “Missing Matoaka,” the company knew right away that it would be an important project, and wanted to find a way to make it happen, said executive producer Dana Gadsden.
One of the elders who worked on the project said it was “the first time she felt that their voices were truly being heard,” said Gadsden. “And to be blessed with her approval means as much as any award.”
While “Missing Matoaka” was the big winner for TA2, the company also contributed to “Black Elevation Map” for Performance Art and Alfredo Films, as well as to winning work by McCann for Kids Help Phone, and Ogilvy for TD Bank.
Along with the Best of Discipline awards, “Missing Matoaka” also won nine Gold Pencils, two Silver, three Bronze and two merits.
“It’s such an honour for this team to be recognized on the global stage, and it’s a terrific feeling to contribute to the reputation that the Canadian industry continues to build for itself around the world,” said Christophe Andrews, president and CEO of BBDO. “Accomplishments like this fuel our ambition to keep pushing the work.”
Also on Friday night, another Canadian entry, Performance Art’s “Black Elevation Map” for Black & Abroad, won Best of Discipline in Interactive & Mobile Craft.
As Best of Discipline winners, both “Missing Matoaka” and “Black Elevation Map” were eligible for Best of Show, which is a vote by all judges across all disciplines.
While “Missing Matoaka” had a higher award tally overall, the judges gave Best of Show to Apple’s “The Greatest,” which also took home one Best of Discipline in Brand-Side/In-House, to go with five Gold Pencils and a Silver. Apple was also was named Brand of the Year.
Some of the other top winners Friday night included Wieden + Kennedy as Independent Agency of the Year; Ogilvy as Network of the Year; and AB InBev as Client of the Year.
Meanwhile, FCB Toronto and the Canadian Down Syndrome Society were named winners of the Penta Pencil (one of just two awarded) in recognition of their outstanding work created together over the past five years.
CDSS and FCB have actually been working together since 2016, creating a series of highly awarded and highly effective campaigns to dispel myths about people with Down Syndrome that go well beyond traditional advertising.
“When we began our partnership with CDSS, we didn’t want to tackle a single issue, we wanted to create a platform where we could tackle the many and diverse challenges that individuals in the community face throughout their lives,” said Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, FCB Canada’s CCO, in a release. “Too many agencies approach this kind of work with a one-off mentality, but we were focussed on creating a long-term platform that gave individuals in the Down syndrome community a voice in advocating for change globally.”
A total of 20,166 pieces from 69 countries and regions were entered in The One Show this year, with 210 Gold Pencils, 200 Silver, 238 Bronze, and 1,172 Merits handed out to entrants from 54 countries and regions.