2002 Rating: 2.5 stars
In 2003, Doner made a compelling case that being independent in an industry obsessed with global heft can make a powerful difference. While 2003 wasn't the agency's best new-business year, it was a defining one for the Southfield, Mich.-based shop. Doner captured the $100 million global account for Six Flags Theme Parks over some industry heavy hitters.
In fact, because it's unencumbered by sibling conflicts, Doner has been increasingly getting short-listed for big reviews, particularly those run by consultants.
Its stable management has protected the agency from the volatility that other shops have suffered, and consistently reliable creativity has put Doner back into the top creative echelon. Some of its recent head-turning work includes Mazda's "Zoom, Zoom" campaign, which although it has been in motion since Doner won the account in 1997, continues to evolve with fresh executions. Other accounts producing entertaining work include CAA Global's Carpet One spot that plays with the metaphor of toupee shopping and Serta mattress ads with animated sheep.
As the topic of holding-company conflicts comes to a head in 2004, Doner will be the beneficiary, because of its independent status, with more review invitations.