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How BBDO Canada Brought Home the Country’s First-Ever One Show Agency of the Year Title


CCO Max Geraldo on what this success means to the agency, striking the balance between talent and grit, and the critical role ‘Missing Matoaka’ played in enabling this win, writes LBB’s Josh Neufeldt

How BBDO Canada Brought Home the Country’s First-Ever One Show Agency of the Year Title

BBDO Canada were big winners at this year's One Show awards. Not only did the agency achieve the status of the world’s top-ranked agency, but its ‘Missing Matoaka’ campaign, created in conjunction with TA2 Sound + Music won two ‘Best Discipline’ categories, and took home nine Gold Pencils, two Silver, three Bronze and two Merits. 

But what did it take to achieve this? Naturally, and in accordance with the classic motto (‘The Work. The Work. The Work’), creating such a strong piece played a big part, but there was far more to this win than just that. Whether it was embracing the desire to seek consistent improvement, or striving extra hard to hone creative ideas due to the lack of budgets in Canadian advertising, everything and everyone at BBDO Canada had to fire on all cylinders in order to achieve such international success. 

LBB’s Josh Neufeldt sat down with chief creative officer Max Geraldo to discuss exactly what this looked like, and, as a whole, what this win means to the agency. 

LBB> Congratulations again on winning Agency of the Year at One Show! What does this achievement mean to you, and what does this mean to BBDO Canada?

Max> Of course, we are very proud of this incredible accomplishment. As an agency, we work hard bringing to life the work we believe will have the best results. Knowing award shows have so many variables, we always try to remain focused on raising the creative bar and hoping the work will speak for itself. And of course, being the first Canadian agency awarded with Agency of the Year at the One Show is an incredible honour, and has made 2023 one to remember.

LBB> To what do you attribute your success? What went into making BBDO Canada the AOY?

Max> At BBDO, we believe every single person can champion great work, regardless of their role. All of us understand the power of creativity to propel businesses and brands forward, and pushing the work is a collective effort.

LBB> Success doesn’t come without good people. How has the agency combined leadership and exciting talent to create cutting-edge work, and what does this look like?

Max> That’s our superpower; striking the balance between talent and grit. And, the best work coming out of BBDO is always done this way. 

To this end, coming up with great ideas is just the first step. After that, the challenges tend to increase from selling a great idea to crafting it, to fine-tuning it to perfection. It’s absolutely critical that our agency leadership keeps the energy and motivation at the highest level possible. 

LBB> Building on this, what are some of the most important projects that have contributed to this success? What made them significant, and did you suspect, even when making them that you’d receive so much acclaim?

Max> Our ambition is to be consistently improving the work. However, that can mean different things depending on the nature of the project and its business objectives. Because 
‘pushing creativity’ can be subjective and intangible, our process tries to make it tangible by defining specific goals as to what progress should look like. That way, we can measure our success.

LBB> Notably, ‘Missing Matoaka’ won big! Tell us more about this. What it is, what were you hoping to achieve when you made it, and how did such an award-winning project come to life?

Max> From the urgency of the cause and the message, to the complexity of the solution proposed, ‘Missing Matoaka’ has to be one of the most exciting and yet challenging projects of my career. Our role was to help create a platform for the Indigenous community to be heard - one that gave them the power to fight back centuries of prejudice and misrepresentation with their own voices and strength. I believe the beauty of this project is rooted in that.

LBB> Often, Canadian advertising is forced to contend with smaller budgets than, say, the US. How does that factor into the way you work? And how did you overcome this hurdle in order to achieve global recognition?

Max> The reality is, budgets do impact the work. However, the limitations our industry faces in Canada can also be our strength. If we can’t compete with budgets, we’ll need to compete with creativity. I’ve seen so much great work from Canada in local or international stages, and it’s getting better and better. The industry in Canada clearly punches above its weight in terms of the quality of thinking, as well as the impact of the creative output. This is why you’re seeing so much Canadian work recognised on the international stage. Not only do I think our One Show accolade is a testament to that, but Canadian agencies having the ‘award season’ they did this year proves that.

LBB> How has BBDO Canada evolved over the past months/years? And what do the coming months hold in store for you all, and the agency?

Max> We use the word progressive a lot in the agency: ‘progressive work made in progressive ways’. That focus has led to some really fresh and exciting work, and we continue to push in that direction. 

Another crucial aspect that helps us achieve our goals is a stronger integration of the BBDO Canada offices and teams to the North American and Global BBDO Network. Working in collaboration with some of the most talented thinkers in our industry has been a source of inspiration and motivation in the pursuit of amazing work. 

Aside from that, as always, we’ll be doing our best to continually challenge ourselves and raise the bar on the creative output, with the hope of refining the craft and achieving incredible results for our clients.

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BBDO Canada, Wed, 07 Jun 2023 16:13:46 GMT