Unlike other industry Agency of the Year award competitions, Media does not place a great deal of emphasis on new business wins and media billings gains, but bases its selection on three primary criteria--strategic vision, innovation and industry leadership--and especially in the ability of contending agencies to demonstrate those qualities in material ways.
In what could be the makings of another dynasty, San Francisco agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners was named Media's media department of the year for the second year in a row--although the agency claims it no longer has a media department, but has fully integrated media into a strategy planning group that has realized breakthrough media strategies and executions.
In a similar vein, Media picked Michaelides & Bednash as its Media Boutique of the Year, even though--and largely because--the London-based communications planning shop was acquired by GroupM, merged into Mindshare, and no longer exists as a free-standing entity. Michaelides & Bednash--which popularized, if not conceived of, the modern communications planning agency--will now work from the inside out to transform Mindshare's organization and product.
WPP's GroupM, meanwhile, for the second time was named Media's Holding Company of the Year--this time in a tie with Publicis' new VivaKi unit. The two agency holding company entities won for very different--indeed seemingly opposing--reasons. GroupM advanced the industry through proprietary moves and strategic investments including the acquisition of Michaelides & Bednash and a stake in next-generation addressable TV advertising developer Invidi Technologies, while VivaKi has fostered an "open source" approach to innovation that could be the new model for Madison Avenue.
For its 2008 Client of the Year, Media has selected Barack Obama, whose presidential campaign broke new media ground both online and offline, and may have redefined U.S. political media in the process.
Media's Supplier of the Year--the Apple App Store--was no less inspired, developing an entirely new platform for creating, distributing and networking media, and for helping to make the iPhone--indeed the entire mobile industry--a genuine consumer marketing platform.
All of this year's honorees will be recognized during an exclusive awards ceremony Jan. 21st in New York City.
A Publicis agency, Digitas, also dominated the Agency of the Year awards for Media's sister magazine, OMMA. Digitas took "gold," while Omnicom's OMD Digital was named "silver." Bronze awards were given to agencies in the following categories: WPP's Schematic for "Web Design and Development;" Havas Digital for "Media Buying and Planning;" Firstborn for "Creative;" and GroupM Search for "Search."
The OMMA magazine winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony on Jan. 20th in New York.
The editors of MediaPost's Marketing Daily, meanwhile, are awarding no overall Marketer of the Year for 2008.
"The industry is struggling to find its balance between the Old World, traditional media and methods and the New World, full of technological promise and ideas such as mobile coupons and social media," explains Marketing Daily Editor Nina Lentini. "Doing all this in an economy that is stretching budgets and energy to their limits does not make for the best in creativity, innovation and sales."
Despite the apparent marketing stasis, Marketing Daily has named 2008 marketers of the year in specific industry categories, including: Campbell Soup in the food category; HP in the technology category; Walmart in the retail category; ING in the financial services category; and Subaru in the automotive category.