2001 Agency Reviews

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Every agency suffered in 2001. First came the client cutbacks on spending and remuneration. Then came the agency layoffs. And when things couldn't get conceivably worse, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 hit, throwing an already depressed industry into a tailspin.

All this factored into Advertising Age's Agency of the Year rankings. Using a 0.5 to 4 star rating, Ad Age editors considered an agency's creative quality and business performance above all. Other criteria included management strength, financial performance, strategic thinking and account wins/losses.

Of the 24 agencies ranked this year, only three shops' ratings rose: WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide (Agency of the Year with four stars from three last year), WPP-owned Young & Rubicam's Y&R Advertising (one and a half stars from one), and Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide (two and a half stars from two).

The dot-com windfall that fattened many shops coffers in 2000 evaporated, leaving agencies such as Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (Ad Age's 2000 Agency of the Year) facing layoffs.

Financial problems weren't the only woes. Management changes shook Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe. And an unexpected Hyundai Motor Co. media review yanked the rug from under Cordiant Communications Group's Bates.

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