Marketing reveals its Of The Year winners

January 23, 2013  |  Marketing staff  |  Comments

McDonald’s, Blue Ant Media and Leo Burnett take home Marketing‘s top honours

Marketer of the Year 2012 – McDonald’s Canada

McDonald’s received the magazine’s Marketer of the Year accolade following the successful launch of its “Our Food. Your Questions” campaign, which took a transparent approach to enhancing the company’s brand in Canada. To deal with questions submitted by consumers covering a range of topics – from industry-wide concerns (“How long has McDonald’s used pink slime in their hamburgers?”) to brand-specific issues (“How is it that a McDonald’s burger does not rot?”) – the QSR took a very plain-spoken and decidedly clown-free approach.

The company filmed several online videos using actual McDonald’s staff to address specific questions. Complementing this, the national campaign also bought space across all manner of media – traditional and digital – making “Our Food. Your Questions” one of the most visible and talked-about campaigns of the year.

“Opening up a national conversation about ingredients and policies is a very brave position to take as a brand” said Jeromy Lloyd, Marketing‘s online editor. “I’m not sure how many companies are brave enough to follow their example, but the ‘Questions’ campaign has certainly put transparency in the forefront of marketing in Canada. And it worked very well as an integrated piece of marketing. It made the company a topic of conversation.”

Agency of the Year 2012 – Leo Burnett

The Toronto office of this Publicis-owned agency network has long been one of the country’s most respected shops, both in terms of its client base and working culture. This year saw it bring home the TD and Yellow Pages accounts, and it continued outstanding, effective work for existing clients large and small (e.g. James Ready beer, IKEA, Elections Ontario and several P&G brands).

The Of The Year honour caps a year of awards for the agency, which was very visible in Cannes, at the Marketing Awards, Cassies, Effies and One Show. That, coupled with $11 million in new revenues, contributed to its own agency network – 97 offices in 84 countries – naming the Toronto shop as its own Agency of the Year.

“Leo Burnett has been rolling for a few years now, but in 2012 they really took off and separated themselves from a host of other great shops,” said David Brown, executive editor. “They were putting out some of the best, most original creative in the industry – across media and disciplines – and winning big clients.”

Media Player of the Year – Blue Ant Media

While relatively new in Canada’s media scene, this independent company has been building its credentials in niche markets with the Aux (music), Bite (comedy) and Travel + Escape media properties. This year saw Blue Ant complete acquisitions of High Fidelity HDTV (and its Oasis, eqhd, HIFI HD and radX properties), the former CBC property Bold, as well as Cottage Life Media (including its four print magazines, two consumer shows and custom media division).

Through its holdings, Blue Ant has found success building customized, own-able media experiences, such as the Aux Scion Sessions, a video series produced for Scion Canada, and Aux Bacardi Together Tour, a documentary that showcased five music festivals around the world.

“Blue Ant won out as 2012 Media Player of the Year because we were impressed with its profound appreciation for the media habits of the modern consumer and how that has helped drive the firm’s nimble and innovative approach to niche content,” said David Thomas, Marketing editor-in-chief.


Marketing began its Of The Year judging process late last year, conducted weeks of research and consultations before announcing the 10 shortlisted companies in each competition. From there, it narrowed each category down to three finalists, revealing each top-three listing during an event Wednesday night.

Marketer Finalists
• McDonald’s Canada
• L’Oréal Canada
• Sport Chek

Agency Finalists
• Leo Burnett
• Cundari
• LG2

Media Player Finalists
• Blue Ant Media
• Rogers Media
• Hootsuite

For more on our Of The Year winners, the finalists and all our shortlisted companies, visit Of The Year 2012.

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