Top 10 Interactive Agencies: Checking Out the 2012 iMedia Awards

Ten interactive agencies stood out in the digital space according to the 2012 iMedia Awards. The awards recognize the agencies who drove innovation throughout the year, paying special attention to social media, video, mobile and a few other areas across digital.

If you’re trying to find a great digital agency, knowing both “who” has been recognized and “why” can help you understand how to evaluate your own shortlist of agencies. You can find all of the top agencies on Agency Spotter and below is a synopsis on what made them stand out in the their category.

Agency of the Year: 360i
Small Agency of the Year: Questus
Campaign of the Year: Starcom
Proprietary Media Tech of the Year: Fluent by Razorfish
Best Agency for Video: Digitas
Best Agency for Mobile: AKQA
Best Agency for Social Media: 360i
Best Agency for Digital Shopper Marketing: Possible
Best Agency for Integrated Media: The Media Kitchen
Best Agency for Performance Marketing: iProspect

360i takes double honors winning Agency of the Year and Best Agency for Social Media. One viral video and campaign that stood out for them was Oscar Mayer’s “The Great American Bacon Barter.” The experiential campaign was driven by social media and featured comedian Josh Sankey driving across the U.S. without any money and only 3,000 pounds of bacon to barter. 360i’s social practice has won recognition from The Shorty Awards, The Effie Awards, and the Webby Awards. Their “Celebrate the Kid Inside” campaign for Oreo’s centennial birthday was called out as a great example of how a brand can put itself at the center of a social movement.

Questus was named Small Agency of the Year for its approach to building brands through transformational experiences rather than interruptive messaging. Questus is very passionate about the new era of branding and even made a documentary showcasing their point of view. The agency excels in creativity but is also successful in driving key business goals including delivering a 195% increase in e-commerce for Universal Orlando Resorts. They have successfully won new business this year working with Gold Medal Flour, Total Cereal, New York Times, Target and several others.

Starcom won Campaign of the Year along with partner 72andSunny for their work with Samsung. Going up against Apple, they were able to hijack the conversation and buzz to promote Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III. They showed a great understanding of the online conversation surrounding smartphones and took control of it with messages that fueled the campaign, bringing humor and a few gasps.

Razorfish’s Fluent was named Proprietary Media Technology of the Year. Sometimes you need an agency that knows technology so well, they invent their own to help their clients get ahead. Fluent is a Software as a Service (SaaS) that allows clients to quickly go to market, manage and measure their digital marketing efforts across platforms.

Digitas takes Best Agency for Video and has been playing a big role in changing the way content is created for the web since 2008. By staying committed to improving the quality of online video, the agency has helped solidify video as a format that can drive major impact for brands. Some of their clients include eBay, Snickers and Comcast.

AKQA named Best Agency for Mobile and their “Fly Delta” app along with “Under The Thumb” for MTV were used as examples of how they are changing the game in mobile. Delta fliers can now check, track, and find their bags in real-time with the new app. For MTV, AKQA is helping change the way Europeans watch and engage with television content delivering anywhere and anytime access as well as making their phone a remote control when they’re at home.

Possible wins Best Agency for Digital Shopper Marketing, a category becoming more relevant as more shopping experiences occur online. Possible helped Macy’s create a cosmetics counter for the digital age by fusing the in-store experience with the online shopping and research process. Bridging the gap between digital and physical is becoming more critical for brands, and Possible’s work is leading the way.

The Media Kitchen cooks up a win as Best Agency for Integrated Media. For this category, campaigns have to work seamlessly across multiple platforms with a consistent message that stands out in the frenetic media landscape. The Media Kitchen demonstrated success through its approach in making Justin Bieber’s new fragrance Someday the No. 1 selling celebrity fragrance in Macy’s history, getting those with Bieber Fever to camp out for its release. Their smart media buy on “Glee” along with engaging posts on Twitter and Facebook helped build a solidified brand platform anchored by a YouTube channel that also played well with a Justin charm-sharing iPhone app.

iProspect brings home Best Agency for Performance Marketing, where standing out, targeting consumers and accurately measuring outcomes are all equally critical. Targeting Latin American travelers for its Miami location, the Mandarin Oriental saw a 24 percent increase in revenue and an 11 percent spike in bookings. iProspect also delivered for adidas, where it developed a model to more accurately track mobile’s impact on in-store sales. The process used location-based search ads combined with in-store conversion rates to help adidas understand how their mobile marketing dollars can influence sales. The agency has also partnered with Talbots, Motel 6, Gap and many others.

Preparing for your next agency search?
As you search for your next agency, keep in mind how the top interactive agencies listed here have been able to push the envelope and drive impact across many digital touch points. If you’re intrigued by one of these agencies, visit their portfolio to see how you’re connected and learn more about their unique approach to helping clients.

As you move forward with finding your next interactive agency partner, keep in mind a few questions as you search:

  • How will you challenge your shortlist of agencies?
  • Are any of these categories a good example to use in briefing your agency?
  • How has the agency delivered innovation for its current clients?
  • Does the agency have a good understanding of which digital platforms are most effective in reaching your customers and achieving your business goals?

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Brian Regienczuk
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