But seriously, don't dismiss this issue too quickly. Consider, for just a second, that we've put together, with painstaking detail, our first-ever ranking of top award-winning agencies this year. I won't spoil the fun by telling you here who's on first, but if you guessed that they're based in San Francisco you'd be hitting ground zero (more on them later). Our Top 10 contains a couple of surprises, so check it out.
Back to Ground Zero: we first mentioned them in our startup cover story of December 1993. Now here they are, all grown up and facing that ever-present challenge of managing growth. When they opened their doors in L.A., partners Kirk Souder and Court Crandall made a point of saying that when you hired GZ, you got them. Now that they've outgrown that promise, how are they handling the transition from creative doers to creative directors? Further, we look at how their brand of strategic, brand-oriented problem solving-they'd prefer not to be labeled another creative boutique, thank you-has been assessed by the local ad community.
Meanwhile, about five or six hours' drive north is a community of a somewhat different mindset. We've been working on a piece about the San Francisco ad scene for months-specifically, just what the hell is it about that place that makes creative people want to open their own agencies there? Now that Hampel/Stefanides has opened an office and Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners is fixing to (after a fashion-they're probably going to invest in a local shop rather than put their name on the door), even more attention will be paid to this boomtown. Sure, everyone loves the work that comes from San Francisco, and it seems everyone loves working there. The question is, when will it reach the