Having just come off our Agency of the Year issue, and having pored over a wide range of creative output for this issue, we've seen a volume of work that looks as though it was trying to please everyone, and in doing so, acquires the unpleasant aroma of nothingness. Overall, our favorites in this issue, and doubtless the most effective with consumers, were those projects that challenged our exhausted eye sockets and deadened souls with uncompromising, yet relevant messages. In TV spots, the much gushed-about Honda "Cog" spot is an obvious example of work that broke from norms, but it wasn't necessary for creative to have the sweeping grandeur of that beauty or to be in a glamorous category to be recognized as something. Always eager to award points for difficulty, we cited an ad for a spectacularly boring product-Rexall Sundown's Osteo Bi-Flex-which employs legendary crank Frankenstein in demonstrating the product's benefits while also demonstrating that even the, um, stiffest of accounts can gain from breaking away from the expected. The big, colorful boldness of the new HP campaign had something, so did the latest round of the classic, curmudgeonly Miller High Life work. And while a hip clothing line could be expected to produce a cool catalog, it might be counterintuitive to predict that it would feature a horrible, imaginary creature and purposefully un-hip design cues, but that's what KesselsKramer delivered, to great effect, in printed materials for 55DSL. On the other end of the spectrum, the elegant text and line drawing-driven Carlos, recently named Launch of the Year at the British Society of Magazine Editors Awards, was equally compelling. As Carlos' editor said of the unconventional Virgin Atlantic title at the time of its launch-you either get it or you don't. Whether you like the mag or not, the unapologetic spirit espoused by its creators is admirable-and harder to advance in difficult, paranoid times. Managing to do so in 2003-well that's something.