The Creativepool Annual is all about championing excellence in the creative industries. Now that our stellar lineup of winners for Annual 2021 has been announced, it is time to take a closer look at those companies and professionals who defined creativity in the past year.
Agency of the Year has always been The Annual's highest accolade, and this year we were proud to see Momentum Worldwide and The Creative Engagement Group be awarded Gold and People's Choice in the category, respectively. Annual 2021 also cultivates the trend started in 2020, with three distinct professionals being granted the 2021 Creative Leader of the Year award. Once again, The Annual 2021 winners are a testament to the power of the industry, including the urge to drive positive change across the world.
Check out Annual 2021's best Agencies, Brands, Talent and Leaders of the Year below!
Momentum Worldwide | Agency of the Year
It’s not what brands say, it’s what they do that matters." Momentum lives by this creed, delivering total brand experiences by blending creativity, technology, strategy, insights and execution. The agency was founded in 1983 and has since then grown to global success. It now boasts more than 30 offices across six continents, with more than 2,000 staff. Having collected numerous awards all over the industry, Momentum is a prime example of a creative agency. Illustrious clients include Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Verizon, American Express and Microsoft among others.
"What Momentum shows is the creativity and the spirit to pivot an entire business, rethink what they did and how they work, and in so doing putting their trust and belief in their people."
/ Jim Moffatt
The Creative Engagement Group | People's Choice Agency of the Year
The Creative Engagement Group is an unusually shaped communications group that creates moments that inspire lasting change. Founded in 1976, the Group now employs over 400 people in Europe and the US. The company partners with clients to provide employee engagement, learning & training solutions, scientific engagement and capability building, by engaging internal and external audiences through the creation and delivery of live & virtual experiences, film, branded content, immersive and interactive content. The Creative Engagement Group works with an international blue-chip client base across business categories and has a particular strength in healthcare.
"An agency whose philosophy lives not in their credits reel, but in their hearts and their actions."
/ Jules Macken
SomeOne | Best Agency to Work For
SomeOne is an award-winning design practice that strategically launches, relaunches and protects brands worldwide. With offices in London and Sydney, SomeOne invents brands with clients, or re-invents them ready for new business challenges. SomeOne's approach involves not fitting clients into pre-determined processes, but rather creating bespoke teams around each case, ensuring that creative ideas flow freely. This enables SomeOne to build solid work and an affectionate team of professionals, always at the ready to tackle any challenge flexibly and with unwavering creative spirit.
"Taking care of your team should not only translate into offering benefits, but also into awarding them proper, well-deserved recognition for their hard work. Well done, SomeOne."
/ Tomas Lavagno
Design Bridge | People's Choice Best Agency to Work For
Design Bridge is a global community of brand creatives. The team loves to think of themselves as a small agency with a lot of people. Founded 35 years ago in London, they have organically grown Studios in Amsterdam, Singapore, New York and Shanghai, with approximately 400 people working with some of the most iconic brands in the world, as well as smaller, more entrepreneurial start-ups. Collaboration informs Design Bridge's culture and encourages a spirit of generosity, with a longstanding tradition of looking after people’s careers. The team at Design Bridge prides itself on being actively inclusive, and they are on a mission to build even greater diversity into their teams, with quarterly reviews of objectives and goals. The learnings from the past year will formulate their future way of working, with an emphasis on flexibility, time spent together to fuel inspiration, and encouraging a better work life balance for everyone.
"It is uplifting to see a company that worries about developing young people. Diversity should be a standard by now. Agencies that offer solid capacitation such as Design Bridge will stand out."
/ Fabio Ludwig
Innocent | Brand Team of the Year & People's Choice
What is there to say about Innocent? Born out of a drinks stall at a music festival in London, the brand keeps surprising the industry with its unique personality and playfulness. Everyone out there wants to be Innocent, work with Innocent, hang out with Innocent. Innocent's mission is to make it easy for people to do themselves some good and to make it taste nice at the same time, and their desire to leave things a little better than they found them is reflected in everything they do, from the use of green electricity at Fruit Towers to only sourcing their fruit from farms that look after both their workers and the environment. It's not surprising they were able to grab a double win as the Best Brand to Work For (Gold and People's Choice).
"Innocent is full or personality and fun in the communication of their culture. I just want to go and hang out with them!"
/ Nicholas Horan
Financial Times | Brand Team of the Year & People's Choice
It's a double win for The Financial Times (FT) as the Brand Team of the Year (Gold and People's Choice). FT is one of the world’s leading news organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT Group employs more than 2,300 people worldwide, including 700 journalists in 40 countries. The FT Group includes the Financial Times, FT Specialist - a portfolio of 17 specialist brands - and a number of services and joint ventures. Committed to positive change and empowering employees to make a difference, the FT vision for the workplace is one in which people with different perspectives are heard and valued, traditional barriers are removed, and all employees feel they can be themselves at work. The team upholds the highest standards of ethical and professional journalism through their Editorial Code, when they work with advertising partners, and in the areas of reader trust, privacy and user experience.
"Understanding the position the world is in and how the voice of the brand can help means that the work delivered is not only powerful for the brand, but it helps others see through this troubling year."
/ Steve Poxson
Blue Zoo Animation Studio | Creative Services Company of the Year
Founded in 2000 by classmates Oli Hyatt, Adam Shaw and Tom Box whilst studying animation at Bournemouth University, Blue Zoo is one of the UK’s leading animation studios with a shelf full of BAFTAs for the team's trademark CG character animation. The studio produces shorts, commercials, digital content and some of the most well-loved kids shows on TV. As a creative-led animation production company, Blue Zoo combines the skill, experience and resources of a large studio with the passion, ambition and friendliness of a small studio.
"The team obviously loves what they do, and the enormity of some of the brands they work with is decent credit for their creative work."
/ Adrian Last
Tag Collective Arts | People's Choice Creative Services Company of the Year
Tag Collective Arts is a post-production company that specialises in VFX, Editing, Retouching, Motion Graphics, CGI, Flame, Colour Grading and Audio, with an employee account of over 200 people. Tag's list of top clients ranges from O2, Amazon, Universal Studios and Heineken to Loreal, Havas, Arla and Argos, to name a few. The culture within the company makes everyone feel welcomed and at home. Colleagues feel comfortable leaning on one another for help and advice, developing a close-knit family. All while promoting through the youth, offering runners opportunities in the industry and positions other companies may not. Since 2020, Tag Collective Arts has won the silver Ciclope award for sound design and gold at Brand Film Festival, while also being shortlisted for a number of Creativepool awards and winning People's Choice for Clear Vietnam. Looking ahead, one of the company's main goals is to encourage clients and other creative establishments to think more sustainable, while thinking about how to make a lasting difference for the industry.
"Tag Collective Arts have solid skill-sets to provide comprehensive and different levels of creative services. Their work feels mature, simple but extremely well executed with an eye for details."
/ Kelly Woh
Zulu Alpha Kilo | Independent Agency of the Year
Crowned Independent Agency of the Year in The Annual 2020, Zulu Alpha Kilo is back for the second year in a row with one of the highest accolades in The Annual 2021 awards. From the beginning, Founder Zak Mroueh did not want his new shop to be part of the mainstream agency scene and play by the same antiquated rules – which is why ZAK says no to spec creative pitches. It meant turning away over 80% of the RFPs that came their way. But as a result, they still grew with premium, like-minded clients who respected true partnership. The agency now employs over 100 Zuligans, and though the team isn't as small as it used to be, Zulu Alpha Kilo remains proudly independent and single-minded in its focus on creativity.
"It's refreshing to see an agency not taking themselves too seriously. It works because Zulu Alpha Kilo has the product to back it up. The team demonstrates an impressive body of work, driven by a deep consumer understanding and delivered in a compelling way."
/ Ryan Wills
Imagination | People's Choice Independent Agency of the Year
Imagination is an Experience Design Company headquartered in London, with 12 offices worldwide. There are 217 permanent employees in EMEA and 385 employees globally. Founded over 50 years ago on a principle of Independent Creativity, Imagination brings together diverse groups of strategic, creative and practical people who remain free to find the right answers to client challenges. They remain independent to this day. The team has earned a reputation for consistently challenging and changing the status quo, through core offers of Consulting, Destinations, Content and Live. Since 2020, they worked in collaboration across their global offices, pivoting to adapt to client needs. Refocusing and turning what would be live experiences into great virtual and hybrid experiences, adopting cutting-edge technology and developing new content-driven solutions - whilst adding six new clients to their portfolio, including Samsung and the Saturday Club. Imagination is proud of the diverse brands and industries they work with globally and can boast a solid portfolio of work through one of the most challenging times for the industry whole.
"Imagination has successfully been able to adjust to the times whilst ensuring their ethos of independent creativity is never lost. A type of agency which is seldom found or seen these days."
/ Andrew Almendras
Sherlock Communications | PR Agency of the Year & People's Choice
Sherlock Communications impressed our 2020 panels across the board with several wins and People's Choice awards, including 2020 PR Agency of the Year. The team is back this year securing yet again the highest accolade in the PR sector. Sherlock Comms is a multi-award winning Latin American PR and digital marketing agency, headquartered in São Paulo with additional offices and teams in Mexico City, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, Santiago and Guatemala City among others. Specialising in boosting growth for international brands both already present in the region and launching for the first time, the team at Sherlock has won and been highly commended for a number of global awards in the last two years.
"An impressive range of commercial and pro-bono/non-profit work on the books and what appears to be a solid workplace culture. Even more impressive in the year that was."
/ Ellie Tuck
KIND | Small Agency of the Year
KIND® is an international, multi-award winning, full-service branding agency. It was named Europe's best agency by the European Design Awards 2019/20, and Global Agency of the Year by The World Brand Design Society 2020/21. With a head office in Bergen, Norway, and branch offices in Oslo, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Shanghai, KIND boasts a team of experts in design, strategy, positioning and content, spread across the world. This global presence has helped the agency create iconic, award-winning, emotive work for market-leading companies across wildly diverse markets.
"The work of KIND is impressive to say the least. Their passion for their projects shines through and their attention to detail is incredible. They're a growing company with exciting horizons and yet their tone is humbled and authentic."
/ Joanna Bradshaw
Woven Agency | People's Choice Small Agency of the Year
Wellbeing comes first at Woven. Nothing is more important. It's why every team member gets a monthly wellbeing allowance to improve their quality of life. They can be used on anything from gym memberships to massages to meditation app subscriptions. Woven's role is not to tell people how to feel renewed — they are just there to help make it happen. Woven believes firmly that culture eats strategy for breakfast. It’s how they have been able to grow the business so much and retain their exceptional team. The pandemic forced businesses to demand more from their agencies, and Woven has made an excellent job by collecting six new industry-leading clients since January 2020. Unsurprisingly, a global health crisis helps put things into perspective, and so the team has decided to save some lives in the best way possible. Since 2020, Woven has been working in partnership with charity 10,000 Donors, to save lives through stem cell research.
"Culture eats strategy for breakfast, is nicely put and I'm sure that gives the employees the extra strength to go the extra mile. Well done."
/ Selma Þorsteinsdóttir
Camilla Ciappina | Emerging Talent of the Year
Graduated in Art Direction at Miami Ad School São Paulo, Camilla has been working in the field since 2014. She worked in agencies such as Havas, AlmapBBDO, LDC and in 2017 decided to move to New York looking for new opportunities. There, she worked at DiMassimo Goldstein and since 2018 she has been Senior Art Director at Publicis. Camilla has won renowned awards in her field such as One Show, El Ojo, FIAP, Wave Festivals and has also been a jury member of major festivals such as D&AD, One Show, PHNX Ad Forum, and the Grand Jury of the New York Festivals. Camilla is the founder and creative of Pimp My Portfolio, which started as a personal project, and has become today a thriving company dedicated to helping creative professionals build or improve the presentation of their online portfolio.
"What I admire in Camilla and would like to underline in my evaluation is the transformation of her personal project. In four years, Pimp My Portfolio has built 610+ websites, from advertising students to CCOs of major global agencies. A great, industry-defining achievement."
/ Malgorzata Wegierek
Yara Boraie | People's Choice Emerging Talent of the Year
Yara is an idiosyncratic writer who refuses to be boxed up or fit under a label. She is led by a strive for continuously voicing authentic stories of the youth from the Dubai region on Virtue, the creative agency by VICE, one of the most powerful digital publishing platforms. She doesn't just write for herself; she writes to make a difference, as one of her major aspirations in life is to give a platform to those who've never been given the chance to speak. Her hope is that she'll be able to do just that through as many mediums as possible.
"Yara's drive for authenticity really comes across. What strikes the most is that early on in her career she is challenging advertising clichés and voicing authentic stories. This is incredibly important to shape the future of the industry."
/ Amy Wolfe
Tara Ford | Creative Leader of the Year
Tara Ford is the Chief Creative Officer of The Monkeys Sydney and Board Member of the Advertising Council of Australia and one of our 2020 Top 100 Creative Influencers of the Year. In 2020, Tara made the B&T Women in Media Power list (no,18) making her the first and only creative to ever make the shortlist. She has worked at some of the most creative agencies around the world. Her work has been consistently recognised throughout her career, at the highest level of every major international award show. A talented and inspiring leader, Tara has judged and chaired at every major global award show. And with her work as a board member of the Advertising Council of Australia and the AWARD Committee, she helps guide the future direction, reputation and values of the industry as a whole.
Fred Levron | Creative Leader of the Year
As FCB's Worldwide Creative Partner, Fred teams up with Global CCO Susan Credle to make FCB one of the most creative and effective advertising networks in the world. Together they led an extraordinary creative transformation that saw FCB winning a number of accolades across the industry, including the Cannes Lions 2020/2021 Network of the Year. Fred believes creativity used at its best is an economic multiplier for brands. His commitment to the creative product can be seen in many famous campaigns created for the most iconic brands around the world over the last two decades. A talented and inspiring creative leader, Fred is known for his pivotal role in helping both local and global iconic brands find their voice in the modern world.
Russ Lidstone | People's Choice Creative Leader of the Year
Russ is Group CEO of The Creative Engagement Group (TCEG). Previously backed by private equity house LDC, Russ worked with LDC to help create, structure and position TCEG, and exit its investment in the strategic trade sale to the healthcare and communications group, Huntsworth in 2017. Having started his career at Coca-Cola, Russ held strategy and leadership roles in blue chip agencies including McCann, Butterfield Day, HHCL, Lowe and JWT. Russ was CEO of Havas Worldwide for six years and has won a number of accolades across the industry. He is member of a number of top-class bodies and organisations in the industry, and he is Chair of Trustees for Creative Mentor Network and Advisory Board member for Isla - the event industry sustainability body.