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Small Agency of the Year, International, Gold: Bensimon Byrne

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Svedka's vodka campaign.
Svedka's vodka campaign. Credit: Bensimon Byrne

Toronto shop Bensimon Byrne generates buzz far beyond Canada's borders, and its innovative work shows results: The agency says its revenue growth was over 6 percent in 2017.

Perhaps its most socially significant campaign of the year, created for Casey House, a local hospital for people with HIV and AIDS, played off a study that found 50 percent of Canadians surveyed wouldn't eat food prepared by someone with HIV. So the agency created a pop-up restaurant to fight the stigma, with the HIV-positive chefs wearing aprons with messages like "Kiss the HIV+ cook." The campaign generated headlines from news outlets including the BBC, The Guardian and People. Plus, HBO Canada picked up a documentary the agency made about the pop-up.

The 24-year-old agency also did a spooky Halloween campaign for Svedka vodka focused on banner ads that "stalk" internet users. And to promote the Ontario government's rebate program for environmentally friendly home upgrades, it created amusing, eye-catching ads about "reducing your carbon footprint" starring adults with baby-sized feet slipping on tiny slippers and socks.

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