The Ad Age Agency A-List: Here's How to Enter

We Are Open For Submissions; Deadline is November 21

Published on .

It's hard to believe 2012 is almost over. But we can't help being excited for the end of the year because that means it's time again for agencies to show us all the phenomenal work they've produced over the course of the year and, just as important, how that work is helping clients' bottom lines in these challenging economic times.

Ad Age is now accepting submissions for our annual Agency A-List that honors the best shops, regardless of discipline or specialty.

In past years, the top honors have gone to Wieden & Kennedy, McGarryBowen and CP&B. Do you think you have what it takes to join them in being named our Agency of the Year?

Beyond the top spot, we'll also be selecting our Agency A-List to round out the 10 best agencies in the U.S.

There are so many of agencies doing incredible work that in recent years we've also called out others at the top of their game by highlight our "next 10" standout shops as well as 10 up-and-coming agencies to watch.

We'll again select an international agency of the year -- either a single office that 's part of a network or an non-U.S. independent shop -- which last year went to TBWA/Hakuhodo. We also honored Latinworks as our multicultural agency of the year.

Depending on the quality of the entries, we reserve the right to bestow a few additional honors, such as an agency executive of the year. Last year we honored Horizon Media CEO Bill Koenigsberg.

Also of note: Creativity , which last year honored Droga5 as Creativity agency of the year, will also be accepting entries. For information on how to submit for it's award, head to Creativity .

Many of you have done this before, so you know the drill. But we also want to uncover new potential honorees, so please do not shy away if you've never thrown your hat in the ring before. Either way, we're eager to see what you've been up to.

To help you in the process, we've presented answers to the most frequently asked questions about the submission process. If you have additional queries, please email us at [email protected]. (But first, please read the FAQ -- none of us likes being asked a question we've already answered below!)

What do we look for?
Evidence of an agency's business success, conveyed by revenue growth, income growth and a killer new-business record. If your agency has developed innovative channels for making money, including via collaborative projects, ownership of intellectual property and by influencing or even creating products, make sure to include those too.

As always, Ad Age weighs heavily how the agency has delivered strong results for its consumer-marketing clients. We're looking for shops that come up with creative and effective solutions to clients' business problems, with meaningful, measurable results that back those claims. (And please note, we don't necessarily define "creative" as the most beautiful or groundbreaking TV commercial -- it can also be demonstrated with creative thinking about a business problem.)

So what should you submit?
At minimum, the following five things should be included in your A-List submission.

  1. Three to five of your very best client case studies, including all the relevant work as well as an explanation of the business challenges faced, your strategy, tactics and, most importantly, the results. The timeframe for this work is November 1, 2011, through current day. We most highly value 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 and engaged consumers (e.g., YouTube views, tweets). You can also include publicly available data, such as sales or market share data provided by IRI. Share a stock chart for your client, and show us how you moved market cap. Be inventive -- but be accountable.
  2. A picture of your growth. We realize some of you will need to be discreet here as you sidestep Messrs. Sarbanes and Oxley. We need you to let us know: how your revenue has grown or declined in year-to-date percentage terms and explain a bit about where that revenue comes from (e.g., 5% mobile, 30% digital); your projected calendar 2012 revenue; a sense of how headcount has changed; and your performance vs. Ad Age estimates of your performance. (Yes, accessing DataCenter data requires a DataCenter subscription. You should have one anyway.)
  3. Provide a detailed list of client account wins and losses with their estimated revenue per annum. (If you have IP projects or other new revenue streams that are not client related, please note them as well).
  4. Describe your agency culture in no more than 250 words. What have you done to foster talent, a creative workplace, collaboration?
  5. Share a few photos that you think represent your agency. They could be of your principals and top execs, the agency space, the bar cart, the pool table. This will give us a flavor for the special vibe you've created at your agency, but will also be retained for potential use in our A-List package, either print or online, and beyond.

Is there anything important to add?
Since you asked, yes: Know 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 the key part. After all, what good is all that hard work that you put into the submission unless it's manages to reach us safely, and in the proper form? For starters, this is a paperless process. Think green! Eschew the hard leather-bound portfolios and plastic DVDs. Instead, put everything up on a website and send us the URL. There are no points for fancy presentation here -- use a Tumblr account, Wordpress, we don't care. Though, we really hope that in this day and age, you won't opt for a PDF. The easier information is for us to find and digest, the better. Send the URL to [email protected] (and if it is password protected don't forget to send that too).

What's the deadline?
The final deadline is November 21. This will NOT be extended. (For those who celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, this is so you can enjoy your tofurkey with friends and family instead of worry about a looming submission deadline. Enjoy the holiday, people!)

Does entering cost money?
No. It's free. Can you believe it?! (Though Ad Age does offer plenty of ways you can promote your agency in our pages and pixels outside the A-List, including our newly launched LookBook . For more info on those opportunities, contact Lisa Scotto, on our business side.)

Can we have an extension to the deadline?
See previous question. This gives you more than one month to submit and we require adequate time to read, research, interview, write, photograph, design, etc. We're being fair, so please, please get all your entries in by no later than midnight EST on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

When will the report be published?
The A-List issue will be published on Jan. 28.

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