Welcome to Ad Age's annual Agency A-List.
This issue is devoted to honoring the best agencies in the land, and now, in its fourth year, we're proud of the breadth of the players highlighted here. They comprise big agency networks, indie digital shops, brand-consultancies and more. It's a reflection of the times and the blurring lines between who does what. Why can't a PR shop lead a social-media-marketing effort for one of the country's largest fast-feeders? And why can't a traditional network be responsible for the hottest viral ad of the year?
We believe 2009 will go down as the year in which agencies had the chance to become more valuable than ever to their clients, who were desperately looking for help in rethinking their businesses and giving consumers a reason to spend in the worst economic downturn of the past 50 years.
This year, we've identified even more shops we think are worthy of being honored. Besides the agencies on our A-List, we've got 24 more we just couldn't resist calling out for their efforts. There's our Media Agency of the Year, OMD; our Multicultural Agency of the Year, LatinWorks; our International Agency of the Year, Santo; and our Comeback Agency of the Year, Universal McCann. We also selected 10 stellar shops that were just shy of the A-List, and then 10 more that should be on your radar in 2010.
How do we determine who makes the list? First, the work must have worked: actually improved the client's bottom line. A healthy new-business story was essential (and hanging onto existing clients doesn't hurt, either). And they had to demonstrate innovation in their own business models.
You'll notice Creativity made its top picks as well. And it valued one criterion above all: the work. Really cool work. As you'll see in the portfolio of this year's winner, Mother, New York, we don't mean 30-second spots and or Flash-addled microsites.
If there was anything that disappointed us, it's that even at the best in our industry there's still an embarrassing lack of diversity in senior roles. We hope in future years the best agencies understand they can be even better by reflecting the diversity of the population to which they market.
Thanks for reading.