Much like the film industry, advertisers love their awards. Albeit, we tend to have a bit less glitz and much more plaid and black-rimmed glasses. Facial hair might be a tie thanks to the Affleck and Clooney duo.
These awards, though significant, continue to stress the idea that our industry focuses more on showcasing visuals than on solving business challenges, even while the brands that we cater to yell, “ROI. Bottom line. Budgets.” The two are not mutually exclusive, but it demands the question: Who is focused on the business of advertising?
If the recession taught us anything, then we know that the business of advertising is just as important as the ideas and execution. Your operations managers, business development team and founders couldn’t rest on laurels during a time when advertising budgets shrank (or evaporated) and clients simply walked away. It took passion, tough decisions and ingenuity for agencies to survive and grow.
An award means there is a type of competition. There is a victor, strategy and an art to the struggle — a battle full of anticipation, unexpected moves and losses. All the drama, ceremony and one-upmanship we crave in advertising.
But while advertising is and should be a competitive and persuasive business, the Agency 100 is about commending growth — not about adorning the last agency standing. The past three years have made diversification, flexibility and foresight in to the ever-changing technology sphere unavoidable. And many agencies have launched, repositioned and innovated to meet this need. Founders, COOs and others have spent nights re-solidifying the foundation of their agency so that ideas aren’t hindered by decimals and risks aren’t stifled by limitations.
The Agency 100 shouldn’t just be another award to list in a bio: It is a showcase of fortitude, relationships, great work and, ultimately, strategic ideas.