NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Ad Age is now welcoming submissions for its Agency A-List. The A-List, our annual effort to identify the top shops in the country, is open to all comers, regardless of discipline or specialty. So if you think you can topple last year's winner Crispin Porter & Bogusky from its throne, now's the time to let us know why you're better than the boys from Boulder.
As in recent years, we'll be selecting ten agencies, with the top shop taking Agency of the Year honors. We'll also be looking for a top international agency, although unlike in previous years we're not seeking an agency network for that honor, but instead a single office. In other words, TBWAParis could enter, as could a non-network or independent shop outside the U.S., but we're not looking for a submission from the entire TBWA global network. In the report, to be published on January 18th 2010, we may also include 10 more agencies on the cusp of the A-List; a comeback agency of the year; and an agency executive of the year, depending on whether there are viable candidates for these categories.
What do we look for?
Well, we still look for some evidence of business success for the agency in the form of revenue growth, income growth, a good new business record and maybe innovative ways of making money (collaborative projects, ownership of IP, influencing or even creating product and not just communication). But these days we place the most emphasis on agencies that deliver strong results for their consumer-marketing clients. That means we look for shops that are coming up with creative and effective solutions to their clients' business problems, and can show meaningful, measurable results of those solutions. (Please note, here at Ad Age we don't think 'creative' necessarily means most beautiful or edgy TV commercial, but rather most creative thinking about a problem.)
So what should you submit?
The bulk of the submission should be three to five of your best client case studies. That'll include 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 (YouTube views, Tweets, etc.) You can also include publicly available data such as the numbers provided by IRI. If your stones are big, share a stock chart for your client, and show us how you moved their market cap. Be inventive by all means—but be accountable.
You should also provide a picture of your growth. Again, we realize some of you will need to be inventive here as you sidestep Messrs. Sarbanes and Oxley. Let us know how your revenue has grown in percentage terms, talk about your headcount changes, talk about performance versus Ad Age estimates of your performance last year. A list of account wins and losses with their estimated revenue per annum, is good too, if of lesser value than some real financials. Of course, the optimal submissions have both.
Is there anything important to add to that?
Well, yes, now that you ask, 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 a paperless process. Please eschew the James-Bond-back-catalog-sized DVD box sets, and, while it pains us to say it, we can probably live without the candy and the cuddly toys, too (I do need a new Arnold Worldwide satchel, however). That leaves you two choices, you can either send us digital files or you can put everything up on a website and send us the url. (The latter being our preferred method.) There are no points for presentation here, although obviously the easier it is for us to navigate these entries the more good thoughts we'll be feeling as we evaluate them. Send all this stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's the deadline?
Can we have an extension to the deadline?
Sorry, no, this gives you a month to submit and us just a couple of weeks to read, research, interview, write, photograph, design, etc. We're being fair, please, please try to get all your entries in by Friday, December 4th.