Ad Age Small Agency Conference & Awards

August 03, 2020 August 05, 2020

Ad Age’s Small Agency Conference & Awards is the only conference of its kind dedicated specifically to the needs of agencies with 150 or fewer employees. These independent shops may be smaller in size than their holding company counterparts, but they are scrappier and producing inventive, effective and fast-turn work, which is proving more important than ever in the face of the current pandemic.

In fact, these are shops accustomed to Living on the Edge, the unofficial theme of this year’s event, which is going virtual for the first time in 11 years. The three-day virtual conference explored real-world issues faced by this group, taking on subjects like to get paid fairly (and on time); how to draw in new clients; the prospects for drawing in new talent; the state of the economy; and what the upcoming election might mean for the ad business. In addition, we had case studies of work that sells, along with inspirational speakers including Greg Hahn, who in a vote of confidence for small shops, joined No Fixed Address from BBDO; and Jeff Goodby, a Lion of St. Mark and co-founder of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Gerry Graf also took the stage to talk about why he ended up closing his celebrated shop.

There was also plenty of best-practice sharing from small agency owners and execs, including Mira Kaddoura, founder and executive creative director, Red & Co., Keith Cartwright, founder of Cartwright; Mark Fitzloff, founder of Opinionated; Chris Witherspoon, president and chief growth officer of DNA Sandy Greenberg, co-founder of Terri & Sandy, and many more.

The event began with intimate workshops conducted by Sunday Dinner’s Lindsey Slaby on formulating your go-to-market strategy and Dan Jeffries, founder of Jeffries Consulting, who will discuss best practices for working with procurement. We were also joined by clients including Ricky Engelberg, CMO of Vistaprint; Jeff Cha, North America CMO at Maserati and Matt Lumb, brand director at Procter & Gamble. As part of the program, certain agencies were also given an opportunity to do an Elevator Pitch for a chance to work with P&G, one of the country’s largest advertisers.

The event was capped off with the highly anticipated Small Agency Awards, which recognizes the hottest shops in the country, with a virtual awards ceremony.

See the full agenda at

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