Leo Burnett

Honourable Mention — Leo Burnett

Agency staff count: 135
New business: Smuckerís, Earls Restaurants, Microsoft Canada, Yellow Pages, Government of Ontario, TD Bank Group

Leo Burnett, a first-time contender for Digital Agency of the Year, nabs fourth place with an honourable mention. The agency has been ramping up its work in the digital and social space and the resulting campaigns have been recognized through countless award wins over the past year alone.

The agency won two Bronze Lions at Cannes for its Ikea and Raising the Roof campaigns. It swept the Andy Awards with four Golds, two Silvers and a Bronze for its work with the charity organization and was the only Canadian agency to win hardware at the show. Not to mention, Leo Burnett Canada won the first-ever Agency of the Year award presented at the 62nd annual ADCC awards show, Directions, as well as eight Gold, 25 Silver and 32 Merit awards.

Leo also added some creative ammunition this year. In March, Stephen Wegner joined the agency as creative director after having spent the past 11 years at Taxi in the same role.

Dom Caruso, president and COO, says the agency's success comes from its knack for mixing the real-world with digital, which was evident in the James Ready "Spelling Bee Lottery" campaign. The program combined product packaging, social media and gaming that encouraged purchase incentive and fan engagement, and won a Bronze Pencil at the One Show Entertainment Awards. The beer brand also took home the inaugural Globe Creative Effectiveness Prize for last year's "Help Us, Help You" campaign at the CASSIES.

Leo Burnett examines exactly how a brand exists in people's daily lives and frames its purpose in a human way, says Caruso. "We might come up with something that resembles a stunt, but it will in turn create a strong social media component," he says. "We approach it in a way that allows for several different possibilities."

In September, TD Bank Group confirmed the appointment of Leo Burnett as its creative agency of record in Canada, ending its quest to consolidate offline and digital advertising, as well as social media and merchandising.

"TD Bank Group was looking for an agency to manage all its needs in an integrated way," says Caruso. "We believe that digital and social can't be separated as different disciplines. It's got to be completely integral to how we run things."

The agency plans to continue the integration of social and digital into its overall practice. "You won't see us creating any new business units, but we will look to bring people in who are inherently digital in their skill set and passion," says Caruso.