The 2013 Ad Age A-List is out. What does it take to make the grade?

A-list-badge-generalIn one of the most anticipated unveilings each year, Ad Age yesterday released its annual Agency A-list issue, which highlights the industry’s top agencies and talent from the previous year. We’re thrilled to announce that two of our clients (and many other industry friends) made the list – TargetCast for “Agency to Watch,” and Translation Founder & CEO, Steve Stoute, for “Executive of the Year.

While the A-list is undoubtedly one of the ad industry’s most coveted honors, few people know how much time, effort and strategy it takes to secure a spot on this list. One would think that because agencies are in the business of selling products and services, that it should be a breeze to promote themselves. Truth is, it takes a strong new business record, standout talent, memorable and cutting-edge work, and most importantly, a strong story that ties it all together and catches the attention of Ad Age’s editors.

This year’s A-list Agency of the Year, 72andSunny, had what it took to land at the top of the list. Not only did the shop make waves for  bold Samsung work that took a direct hit at rival Apple, it grew billings by 66% and invested in top talent. One big hire was  Scott Trattner, an ECD who previously worked on Apple’s advertising at TBWA\Chiat\Day.

New business track records were common among this year’s winners: Agency 360i, number two on the list, brought in over $600 million in billings with business from Hanes, Verizon, Trident and H&R Block.  Grey, number three on the list, won an astounding 21 of 23 new-business pitches in which it participated– Whole Foods, Marriott Resorts, Olive Garden, EmergenC, Radio Shack — worth more than $450 million in billings.

Innovation is important, too. Our friends at La Comunidad, one of DGC’s launch clients and number seven on this list, created the “Volvo in Every Car” app. It lets users zap badges of rival car brands to see all the Volvo-created technology inside other cars.

For agencies that may not have won hundreds of millions of dollars in new business, but are showing promising momentum, there is the “Agencies to Watch,” category, to which our own Targetcast was named. This mid-size media agency’s “David vs. Goliath” story combined with a growing new business pipeline and a sale to global holding company MDC Partners all laddered up to a well-deserved place on this list. A shout out goes to DGC friend and client JWT for also making the watch list on the back of standout work for Band-Aid and Macy’s, and a slew of key hires over the last two years that included Jeff Benjamin, Mike Geiger and Ryan Kutscher. DDB New York was named Creativity’s Agency to Watch in 2013 for its mantra of reinvention and stand-out work including Tropicana’s morning commute campaign and a pro-bono social media campaign for Water for Life centering around the hashtag #firstworldproblems.

Agency executives, too, are honored for their leadership, business results and out-of-the-box thinking as part of this list. This year, no one other than our own client Steve Stoute, CEO of Translation, could be more deserving of honor. Steve’s “outsider” perspective (he spent years in the music biz), experiential approach to marketing (Translation was behind Budweiser’s Made in America festival with headliners Jay Z and Pearl Jam), philosophy on why hip hop culture has become mainstream (he wrote best-selling book “The Tanning of America”), and extensive new business successes (Translation has 60% revenue growth in 2012 with work from clients like McDonald’s State Farm and A-B InBev) have all proven Steve is not just capable of launching music careers, but has a long road ahead in the ad business, as well.

This year’s A-list is comprised of an exciting and innovative group of companies and people, some of whom we’re proud to call clients and work with day in and day out. We’ll be following this group and their creative endeavors closely this year, and can’t wait to see what they do next. Congrats!

You can see the full wrap here (or in this week’s print edition): Ad Age 2013 A-List

Posted on January 29, 2013, in The Hit Board and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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