Add A-List Agencies To The Long List of A-List Celebs, A-List Bloggers, et al

People like lists. That’s the word around the media company water cooler.
People especially like lists when they appear on them. For instance, look at the lead to this press release from Weber Shandwick:

Weber Shandwick, a leading global public relations firm, was today named to Advertising Age’s esteemed Agency “A-List”. As the only PR firm to make this year’s list, Advertising Age called out the firm as a “PR Powerhouse.”

I’m sorry, but there’s something fundamentally wrong with a “PR Powerhouse” calling the list it appears on “esteemed.”
McGarryBowen, Euro RSCG, Rockfish, Martin Agency, DraftFCB, AKQA, Alma DDB, Firstborn and Venables Bell & Partners round out the trade mag’s A-list for 2009.
Ad Age also lists Mother, Duetsch/LA, Resource Interactive, Juniper Park, Cramer-Krasselt, Grupo Gallegos, R/GA, Farfar, Mediavest and Richards Group as runners up, or “shops next in line” to use their vernacular. But hold on, they’re not done. There’s also a knocking on the door list featuring Gotham, SapientNitro, Fallon, BBH/NY, Redscout, Olson, Maxus, Lopez Negrete, Huge and Grey.
All totaled, it’s a hell of a list, balanced as it is between BDAs (big dumb agencies), Interactive upstarts, media shops and Hispanic specialists. And I appreciate Ad Age’s editors introducing me to shops I’ve never heard of like Farfar and Maxus.
So what’s missing here? What the hell am I griping about? Boxes. I’m griping about boxes and our incessant need to put things in them.
I could supply you with my own list of 30 agencies that deserve praise. But that would be me following convention. Or maybe it wouldn’t be that, after all. Maybe it would be me listing my friends’ agencies and saying, “Now this, dear marketer, is where you want to be.” Oh, but publishers don’t do that, do they?
Editor’s Note: If you’d like to receive The AdPulp Agency A-List, let me know. Perhaps I’ll compose one (and sell it for $20 on eBay).



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.