Spike DDB

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2004 Rating: 3 stars

The essence: Omnicom Group's Spike DDB, the first African-American agency to be included in this report, had its best new business year and won creative kudos for PepsiCo ads. But it failed to get John Kerry elected despite heartfelt work for the Democratic National Committee.

Net growth: Spike DDB's billings grew by 35% in 2004, although as a relatively small agency the six new business wins including Tanqueray, Alltel, Essence Communications and Royal Caribbean International only added $12 million in billings.

Management: President Dana Wade joined in 2000, working with founder, filmmaker and majority owner Spike Lee. In 2004, the agency created a promotional unit, BeyondSpikeDDB, which won a promotional assignment from Tanqueray, and added a planner with urban-youth expertise.

Creative quality and effectiveness: The agency's 2004 "Diner" spot for Pepsi Co. was the first commercial created by a multicultural agency to run on the Super Bowl. TV sitcom stars Mo'Nique and Keenan appeared in the spot as a warm-hearted waitress with an ulterior motive who tries to console a customer who loses his girlfriend. The goal was to appeal to the urban community while keeping Pepsi on the leading edge of pop culture . Research indicated "Diner" was the strongest performer of any 2004 brand Pepsi creative work. In 2005, Pepsi plans to increase its multicultural marketing spending by 15%.