The Annual 2006

Welcome to this round-up of all that was brilliant, important, irritating and just downright silly from 2006.

It certainly hasn't been hard to fill these pages this year. From The Red Brick Road in January to Sky in December via cyberspace, it's been a tumultuous 12 months.

Among all the talk of integration, battles for brand strategy, the rise of media planning, and dithering over digital, the entire structure of the industry has come under intense scrutiny. That we're at a point of change is beyond doubt. But change into what? For all the soul-searching, 2006 threw up many questions and few answers.

But in the face of industry change, a handful of companies have stood head and shoulders above their peers, proving that whatever else our business is going through, our brightest companies are still producing world-beating work.

So it's with a mixture of pride and reassurance that we inaugurate a fresh set of best-in-class companies, from our Advertising Agency of the Year through media, DM, digital, production company, advertisers and international networks: all proof positive that 2006 has been a year of some very real highs.

As usual, conferring these accolades has been a lengthy, arduous task, underpinned by a rigour that would surprise many. Of course, you may not agree with our choices, but you can bet we've been through all the arguments every which way.

Many congratulations to all our winners. This year more than ever, making a difference has been a real challenge.