Ad Age's Agency A-List: How to Enter

Deadline Is Nov. 22

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It's that time again, when agencies get to show us all the phenomenal work they produced throughout the year -- and just as important, how that work is working for their clients.

Ad Age is now accepting submissions for our annual Agency A-List that honors the best shops, regardless of discipline or specialty. Think you have what it takes to dethrone last year's winner and new-business machine McGarryBowen? Here's your chance to illustrate why you and yours should be named Ad Age's 2010 Agency of the Year.

The report will be published on Jan. 24. As in the past, we'll be selecting the 10 best agencies in adland, with the top shop taking Agency of the Year honors. We'll also choose a top international agency -- and by that we mean a single office, be it part of a network or independent. Last year we honored Santo out of Argentina.

And we'll highlight 10 agencies on the cusp, 10 hot agencies to watch, and possibly few more, like a comeback agency of the year and an agency executive of the year -- depending on whether there are viable candidates for these categories.

Below are your questions answered about the submission process. If you have additional queries, please write them in the comments section and we'll answer them there or get back to you on a specific case basis, if necessary.

What do we look for?
Evidence of business success for the agency, conveyed to us via revenue growth, income growth, and a strong new-business record. Yes, we know it's been a tough few years for the agency business, but the best out there have developed innovative channels for making money, such as collaborative projects, ownership of IP, influencing or even creating product -- so make sure to include those too. And, as always, Ad Age weighs heavily how the agency has delivered strong results for its consumer-marketing clients. In other words, we're looking for shops that are coming up with creative and effective solutions to clients' business problems, with meaningful, measurable results that back up the claim. (Please note, here at Ad Age we don't think "creative" necessarily means the most beautiful or edgy TV commercial, but rather most creative thinking about a problem.)

So what should you submit?

  • Three to five of your best client case studies, including all the relevant work you did for them as well as an explanation of the challenge you were facing, your strategy, your tactics and, most importantly, the results. We prefer hard business results like sales and market share, but we'll also consider other indicators such as evidence of how work has penetrated popular culture; media pickup; consumer engagement numbers (e.g., YouTube views, Tweets). You can also include publicly available data such as the numbers provided by IRI. Share a stock chart for your client, and show us how you moved their market cap. Be inventive-but be accountable.
  • A picture of your growth. We realize some of you will need to be inventive here as you sidestep Messrs. Sarbanes and Oxley. We need you to let us know: how your revenue has grown/declined in year-to-date percentage terms and explain a bit about where that revenue comes from (e.g., 5% mobile, 30% digital); your projected calendar-2010 revenue; explain any headcount changes; and talk about performance vs. Ad Age estimates of your performance last year.
  • Provide a list of account wins and losses with their estimated revenue per annum.
  • In no more than 250 words, describe your agency culture. What have you done to foster talent, a creative workplace, collaboration.
  • Share a few photos that you think represent your agency. They could be of your principals and top execs, the agency space, the bar cart, the pool table. This is for potential use in our A-List package, either print or online, and beyond.

Is there anything important to add to that?
Since you've asked, yes, there is: Bear in mind that anything you send might end up being published -- think of it as entering the public domain. We're not going to put you on the A-List for all the secret things you're doing that you can only share off the record.

How do you submit?
Just like last year, this is a paperless process. Think green! Eschew the hard leather-bound portfolios and plastic DVDs and, instead, put everything up on a website and send us the URL. There are no points for fancy presentation here -- use a Tumblr account, learn Wordpress, we don't care. But obviously the easier it is for us to navigate these entries the more good thoughts we'll be feeling as we evaluate them. Send the URL to agencyalist@adage.com.

What's the deadline?
Nov. 22. This will NOT be extended.

Can we have an extension to the deadline?
See previous question. This gives you a month to submit and us just a few weeks to read, research, interview, write, photograph, design, etc. We're being fair, so please, please try to get all your entries in by Monday, Nov. 22.

~ ~ ~
Creativity -- which last year bestowed top honors upon Mother -- is also accepting entries now. More on that here.

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