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Agency A-List 2014

Droga5 Is No. 4 on Ad Age's 2014 Agency A-List

Shop Posts 40% U.S. Revenue Increase in 2013, Its Seventh Straight Year of More Than 30% Growth

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From l.: Sarah Thompson, CEO; David Droga, creative chairman; Jonny Bauer, chief strategy officer; Susie Nam, general manager; Sally-Ann Dale, chief creation officer; Ted Royer, chief creative officer; Andrew Essex, vice chairman
From l.: Sarah Thompson, CEO; David Droga, creative chairman; Jonny Bauer, chief strategy officer; Susie Nam, general manager; Sally-Ann Dale, chief creation officer; Ted Royer, chief creative officer; Andrew Essex, vice chairman Credit: Photo provided by Droga5

Droga5's heart is in its New York kitchen. It's there that the shop provides dinners every night at 8 p.m. It's where Pizza Thursday is celebrated. It's where the shop gets to use the main components of its "new staffer" welcome kits (hot sauce and placemats, along with relevant information about the company). It's where the agency will toast this year's agency A-List honor.

And when the shop moves its 240 employees to a new, 90,000-square-foot space on Wall Street, Droga5 will place its kitchen near a stairway connecting the two main floors.

That kitchen-table approach is emblematic of how Droga5 works, even as it expands from small shop to an international force to be reckoned with. Newly minted Chief Creative Officer Ted Royer describes the culture the agency tries to retain as having "funkiness" and "scrappiness." Droga5, though, is far from an underdog, posting a healthy 40% U.S. revenue growth in 2013, the shop's seventh straight year of more than 30% growth.

Droga5 feels like it grew up this year -- signing mature clients like American Express, Diet Coke and Chobani, as well as more experimental ones like 3-D printing firm Makerbot. The agency had a perfect record -- not a single lost pitch. It also opened its first European office, in London, and signed a historic deal with Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor that Chief Strategy Officer Jonny Bauer said will help the agency do bigger and more wonderful things.

Leanne Fremar, senior VP-exec creative director at another new client, Under Armour's women's business, called Droga5 a "world-class agency," which goes to "every length to ensure that both the work and the experience of making the work is nothing short of extraordinary."

And the work, as one has come to expect from this shop, was strong. One of our favorites was a TV campaign for the Moto X that positioned your phone as a lazy, good-for-nothing, pudgy man. For Newcastle Brown Ale, it refreshed its successful, disruptive "No Bollocks" campaign with TV and a Facebook app that exposes the BS behind social-media posts.

And for Droga5, it wasn't just about big brands. For the New Museum's "NYC 1993" exhibit, the agency created an experiential campaign that transformed Manhattan payphones into time capsules that take you back to 1993.

Its in-house incubator, De-De, took home an Innovation Lion at Cannes for social-amplification platform Thunderclap -- which Droga5 says is now its own standalone business used by the White House, One and by political parties in India.

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