The Ad Age Small Agency Awards are back. Now in its 15th year, this is the only awards program of its kind tailored to agencies of 150 or fewer employees. The awards honor independent agencies excelling in three important areas: Creating amazing and effective work for clients, building a financially healthy business and cultivating a diverse and rewarding environment for employees.
Ad Age Small Agency Awards—what to know before you enter
What are the new categories for 2023?
In 2022, we added new categories to honor the people behind the small agencies and this year we are expanding that further. New in 2023 is Executive of the Year. We've also added categories for PR Agency of the Year, Design Agency of the Year and Health Care Campaign of the Year.
Also new for the awards is an exciting new category: Best Use of TikTok, presented by Ad Age and TikTok, which will be chosen by a jury composed of Ad Age editors and TikTok executives. Free to enter, the award will honor an agency or brand that understands TikTok's core DNA—showing the power of creativity is on the platform—and created work made for TikTok that drove cultural and/or commercial impact.
More info on eligibility and what you'll need to enter can be found at AdAge.com/SAA2023.
What is the deadline for the 2023 Small Agency Awards?
The final deadline for all award categories is Wednesday, April 26 at 5 p.m. ET.
Who is eligible?
Ad Age defines small agencies as agencies with 150 or fewer full-time employees.
All agencies of all marketing disciplines are eligible to enter. Entrants must be majority-independent owned, or in other words, at minimum, 51% privately-held. Agencies who are not eligible are those who are either majority or fully-backed by a holding company (e.g. firms like WPP, Publicis Groupe or MDC Partners) or other firms, such as a publisher, marketer, etc.
Can international agencies enter the Small Agency Awards?
Yes, as of last year, international agencies are now eligible to enter many of the awards categories. In the past, international agencies were only able to enter the Small Agency of the Year category to be considered for the International Agency of the Year honor. Now, categories including Experiential, Media and Newcomer Agency of the Year, all campaign categories, Executive of the Year and our Agency Culture category are open to international entrants.
Please note that all submissions should be written in English.
Are individuals at agencies eligible to enter?
Yes! We are excited to bring back our people categories to recognize and celebrate the people behind small agency success. And in addition to Creative of the Year, Account Manager of the Year, Media Planner of the Year and Strategic Planner of the Year, we are introducing a new category for 2023—Executive of the Year.
What kind of work is eligible for the Small Agency Awards?
All kinds, including TV spots and campaigns, experiential, web videos, branded content, design (product, package, graphic, motion, experience, retail, etc.), websites, games, apps, social media and other stuff that’s harder to define: new distribution ideas, new ways to engage a community, etc.
We ask that you enter only bona fide work for a real client of your agency that was actually produced and/or ran in a media environment. Please do not enter work that was created only to run in award shows. If judges raise any flags, we will be following up and we’ll disqualify bogus work (e.g. work not approved by a client, work done for a client you don’t have, ads that were run once, at 3 a.m. in Bend, Oregon, so they would be eligible to enter in Cannes, etc.). Campaigns should have run between Jan. 1, 2022, and March 1, 2023.
For the Best Use of TikTok category, campaigns, videos or actions must have debuted and run on TikTok between Jan. 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2022.
How much does it cost to enter the 2023 Ad Age Small Agency Awards?
As with last year, the entry fee for the Small Agency of the Year category is tiered. The fee for agencies with 1-10 full-time employees is $300; the fee for agencies with 11-75 employees is $345; and the fee for agencies with 76-150 employees is $400.
For all other categories, the fee is $345 per entry, except for the Best Use of TikTok category which is free to enter.
How do I enter?
Instructions, criteria, eligibility and tips for entering can all be found at AdAge.com/SAA2023.
When are the finalists notified?
Finalists will be notified in June 2023; winners will be announced at the 2023 Ad Age Small Agency Conference & Awards in late July in Atlanta.