Small Agencies

The Small Agency Winner's Life

By Published on .

The party's over and everyone has gone home. What happens next for Ad Age's Small Agency of the Year winner?

For 2016 honoree Zulu Alpha Kilo, the aftermath brought a lot of interested potential clients—so many, in fact, that Zak Mroueh, chief creative officer & CEO, said he lost count. (One new client that does stand out is New York-based Wink, the Toronto-based agency's first U.S. client win.)


This experience isn't unusual, say agencies that have taken home top honors over the past few years. The gold for "Small Agency of the Year," honoring an outstanding independent shop with 150 or fewer employees, draws widespread attention and attracts new clients.

O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul, a Chicago-based agency, which took home the top honor in 2015, soon began work for Groupon and Gildan.

"Even though we have a lot of veterans who have been in the business for a while, [OKRP] is still a startup," CEO Tom O'Keefe said. "Winning something like that definitely helped us kind of take it to that next level in terms of legitimacy and credibility."

Muhtayzik Hoffer, the San Francisco-based shop that won the Small Agency Award in 2014, has had a big few years since. The company was acquired by U.K.-based agency VCCP in May 2016, then officially opened its New York office late last year—the first of what it hopes are more offices around the U.S.

Eric Perko, head of media and associate partner, said the agency has also won clients such as Audi of America and AAA.

He said the award helped Muhtayzik showcase the ways "small can be good"—"You don't want to stay super small, but winning an award like this gives you the momentum to grow at the pace you'd like," he said.

To find out more about top small agencies, explore LookBook.

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