Advertising Age's 2011 Agency A-List: How to Enter

We're Taking Submissions from Now Until Nov. 22

Published on .

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 replace last year's shop at the top, Wieden & Kennedy? Here's your chance to illustrate why you and yours should be named Ad Age 's 2011 Agency of the Year.

Agency A-List 2011
Agency A-List 2011

The report will be published on Jan. 23. As in the past, we'll be selecting our A-List -- the 10 best agencies in the U.S. -- with the top shop taking Agency of the Year honors. We'll also choose a top international agency. By that we mean a single office, be it part of a network or independent. Last year we honored Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi out of Argentina.

We'll also highlight 10 more standout shops of the year, 10 up-and-coming agencies to watch, and possibly a 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, we answer all your questions about the submission process. If you have additional queries, please email us at

What do we look for? Evidence of business success for the agency, conveyed via revenue growth, income growth and a killer new-business record. If your agency has developed innovative channels for making money, such as collaborative projects, ownership of IP , influencing or even creating product, make sure to include those too. As always, Ad Age weighs heavily how the agency has delivered strong results for its consumer-marketing clients. We're looking for shops that are coming up with creative and effective solutions to clients' business problems, with meaningful, measurable results that back those claims. (Please note, here at Ad Age we believe that "creative" isn't always the most beautiful or edgy TV commercial, but rather most creative thinking about a problem.)

So what should you submit? At minimum, the following five things should be included in your A-List submission.

  1. Three to five of your very 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 market cap. Be inventive -- but be accountable.

  2. 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 or 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-2011 revenue; explain any headcount changes; and talk about performance vs. Ad Age estimates of your performance last year.

  3. Provide a detailed list of account wins and losses with their estimated revenue per annum.

  4. Describe your agency culture in no more than 250 words. What have you done to foster talent, a creative workplace, collaboration?

  5. 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 will give us a flavor for the special vibe you've created at your agency, but will also be retained 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? This is the key part, since, what good is all that hard work that you put into the submission unless it's manages to reach us safely, and in the proper form? For starters, 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, Wordpress, we don't care (though, we hope you won't opt for a PDF). The easier information is to find and digest, the better. Send the URL to

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 Tuesday, Nov. 22 .

Also of note: Creativity , which last year also bestowed top honors upon Wieden & Kennedy, is also accepting entries now. More on that here.

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