Small Agency Awards 2009

Small Agency Awards: Editor's Note

By Published on .

Here are the winners (and regional winners, and runners up) of our first-ever Small Agency Awards.

It's not a catchy name, or even a catty name, for an award, and we doubt anyone is going to start abbreviating it either -- The SAA's sounds like a respiratory virus, and The Smalls like an undergarment. But even in its first year we believe the show has served its primary purpose: to help Ad Age uncover some of the great but not enormous agencies that too rarely get recognition, and to celebrate some of their best work, which rarely seems to make it through the big awards-show machinery.

We charged a lot less per entry than other awards shows and we limited eligibility to those shops with 75 employees or less across their entire network. And we had only two categories, Agency of the Year and Campaign of the Year, recognizing that dividing work by medium or discipline now is anachronistic.

The Small Agency of the Year was judged by our editorial team, in much the same way that we evaluate our Agency of the Year awards and our Agency A-List. That means looking at the agency's business performance; at the impact of that work on those marketers' businesses; and at thought leadership and innovation.

To start evaluating the Campaign of the Year, we used our own editors and the editors of Creativity. Once we were down to a shortlist of about 70 or so campaigns we prevailed upon a team of judges, chaired by Messrs. Goodby and Bogusky (who can both take some credit for pushing us to do more to recognize small agencies), and featuring many of our Small Agency Diary bloggers, all of whom have been successful at managing and creating work in a small-agency environment.

We've already heard some criticism from those who feel that 75 employees was too low, or too high. We're eager to hear any feedback you have. We'll learn from it, and we'll make The Small Agency Awards bigger and better next year.

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