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The OgilvyInteractive unit of WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide tops Advertising Age's annual ranking of new-media awards for creative work, followed by independent German agency Scholz & Volkmer and Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide.

The exclusive ranking is based on data compiled for Advertising Age by industry group IDEA from the winning entries at 10 leading international interactive shows over the last year. This year, agencies were ranked by networks rather than individual offices; thus such agencies as OgilvyInteractive and BBDO have been consolidated to reflect how agency units performed overall. (For more on how the rankings were determined, see chart.)

The top-ranked agencies are a mix of global networks and local independents. Although Ogilvy heads the ranking, three of the top five agencies are independent. Wiesbaden-based Scholz & Volkmer, started in 1994 by just-out-of-college Anette Scholz and Michael Volkmer, works for clients ranging from DaimlerChrysler to Hewlett-Packard Co. And Brazil's AgenciaClick is just 18 months old (see story below).


At the ad shows that determine the ranking, judges are spotting new creative trends in a fast-changing medium. Cyber Lion judges at last month's International Advertising Festival in Cannes noted and participated enthusiastically in the trends toward expanded personalization and Internet-advertising-as-entertainment.

That's why one Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes went to a Nike e-commerce site by Omnicom-backed Critical Mass, Calgary, Canada, that lets consumers build and order their own shoes. And the other was awarded to Swedish dairy products company Fjallfil and local agency Farfar, Stockholm, for the Milko Music Machine. Visitors create their own videos starring a dancing cow that is the brand icon for Milko milk. The enthralled judges were reluctant to stop playing. One said he found the dancing cow "so compelling, you forget it's advertising."

"Most of our judges spent a lot of time making their own little video clips and sending them to friends," said Carla Hendra, president of both the cyber jury and OgilvyInteractive North America. According to the Farfar agency, after two months on the Web, Fjallfil's sales soared by more than 23%.

Next year, look for new categories that reflect the Internet's development. Ms. Hendra is recommending, for example, that the Cannes festival add an e-mail category. "[The Internet] is becoming mainstream," she said. "It's not the new kid on the block any more even though forms will take time to develop as more TV and storytelling techniques are merged with interactive techniques."

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