New Awards Platform Celebrates the 'F-Word' in Advertising

Toronto-based creative agency launches Freelancers Unite Awards recognizing top freelancers in Canadian advertising and communications

TORONTO, Sept. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - They're the lone wolves of the creative landscape; some of the best in the business.  They help produce award-winning work we admire every day.  They're creative freelancers and they're being recognized with the launch of the Freelancers Unite (FU) Awards.  Developed by CO-OP, a Toronto-based creative agency, this first-of-its-kind awards platform celebrates the value of freelancer collaboration in the Canadian advertising communications industry.

No longer considered a trend, more top industry professionals are making the freelance "leap," enjoying greater job flexibility and project choice.  This is reflected by Statistics Canada research, which points to a noted increase in the freelance workforce within the Canadian advertising and communications industry, but also to a 25 per cent earnings uptake over the past 10 years.*

"We've all seen a seismic shift in terms of top talent choosing to go out on their own," says Peter Brough, managing director, CO-OP. "Though not always spoken aloud in boardrooms, our industry relies heavily on freelancers and there was really nothing out there to acknowledge this talented group of people.  We created the FU Awards to shine a light on this community who, despite their immense contribution, often find themselves on the fringe when it comes to industry recognition."

The Awards' nomination process kicks-off today with a national call-out for anyone (in the industry or otherwise) to show some love for an exceptional freelancer who has recently contributed to creative or account excellence in Canada.  Written or video submissions will be accepted via the newly launched website, until Monday, October 10th, 2016.

Once nominations close, a panel of judges, consisting of industry professionals, will review nominations against pre-set criteria, including demonstration of Partnership, Creativity, and Impact.

CO-OP has developed a 1:00 video, featuring freelancers working in the industry today to help drive awareness and nominations for the first-time Awards.  The spot cheekily points to the notion that freelancers have long been left in the shadows and suggests its time to shine a light on their contribution to the industry.

"As a freelancer, it's beyond gratifying to be recognized for your contributions to the industry," says Courtney Colomby-Brown, freelance copywriter and FU Awards creative contributor. "As an independent, it's tough to find outlets for recognition, so it was really cool to be part of the team that developed FU."

Open to all active freelancers – copywriters, art directors, content creators, project managers, public relations consultants, graphic designers, media planners, website developers and other industry 'independents', the Awards will culminate in a November event where 10 best-in-class individuals will receive kudos for their contribution to industry excellence.

The timing of the FU Awards also underlines a shifting dynamic in the advertising and marketing communications industry, one that is seeing an increasing number of agencies connecting with a rising freelance workforce. At its core, CO-OP itself is comprised of a small group of seasoned partners who manage the strategic development and execution of campaigns. The Agency adds strength by tapping into its wide-reaching network of freelance talent, assembling teams based on individual project needs.  It's a unique model that the Agency says is here to stay.

"Though considered a little ahead of our time when we launched CO-OP, as the talent pool expands, the entire industry is now shifting focus to more and more freelance engagement," adds Brough.  "It really is the agency model of the future and we're excited to be at the cutting edge."

Connect with the Freelancers Unite Awards:

Twitter: @cooptoronto
Instagram: @cooptoronto
Hashtag: #fuawards

ABOUT the Freelancers Unite Awards
The Freelancers Unite (FU) Awards is a new awards platform created to honour top freelance talent in the Canadian advertising and marketing communications industry. The Awards are founded and presented by CO-OP, a Toronto-based creative agency, and are made possible with the help of partners, including: Marketing Magazine, Suneeva, Saints Editorial, 2Gen, Workplace One and Tug Agency. Visit for more information and to nominate a freelancer.

CO-OP is a collaborative, full-service, integrated agency partnership. Headquartered in Toronto, the agency specializes in creative marketing and communications solutions, including: advertising, strategic planning, design, CRM, interactive, social media, digital response and public relations. The agency offers a future-forward business model that seamlessly flexes and shifts team structure and size based on client needs, while celebrating creative collaboration outside its walls. CO-OP combines the heavy-lifting capabilities of a traditional agency with the agility of a modern collective to produce captivating creative and deliver uncompromising business results. Visit for more information.

*Based on figures from Statistics Canada referencing freelancer employment in the Canadian advertising and marketing communications industry over the past 10 years.

SOURCE CO-OP Advertising

Image with caption: "Toronto creative agency, CO-OP Advertising, has launched an awards show to honour freelancers in the advertising communications industry in Canada. (CNW Group/CO-OP Advertising)". Image available at:

For further information: or to schedule an interview, please contact: JAMES LOFTUS, CO-OP, 416.898.4579,


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