Advertising Week: Advertising Agencies Advertise

BBDO-239x300It isn’t often that we get to see how advertising agencies advertise themselves. Thanks to Advertising Week and its Guide, we can see how 40 agencies advertise their brand or promote their session sponsorships. Its a rare opportunity to look into the heads of the agency world.

The ads fall into three types:

  1. Pure brand ads.
  2. Promotional ads where they promote one of the Advertising Week sessions (and their brand.) This is the largest group.
  3. Ads that congratulate Advertising Week on its Tenth Anniversary.

Here’s A Shortlist of Some Advertising Agency Ads

First of all, my gut tells me that most of these ads were handed to a junior team. You do not get the feeling that the agency’s primo ECD was tasked with coming up with the big idea. In an industry that cherishes the BIG IDEA, I didn’t find a really big ones in any of these ads. A couple of the ads kinda stand out but they are the rare case.

Getting past BIG Ideas, I did find a couple of agencies that lead with babies, pets and bikinis. Ya know, its what we do when we don’t have a big idea. OK, just kidding, no babies but we have celebrity and skin.


TBWA is promoting its session “Mick & Keith & Charlie & Andrew & TBWA” session by channeling our inner Stones, Blonde and thong.







BBDO, not to be outdone, delivers a PETA session with Pamela Anderson. Really?

Not To Be Way Outdone By Flesh, We Have Red

arnoldArnold delivers Enemy in red. I guess, enemies are good to have.








gsdmGSD&M delivers pure congratulations.








KarmaLondon’s Karmarama goes coupon, enticing us to hang with them at Advertising Week Europe and get a cupa. This is one of the few efforts that engage. Dare I say that of course its from the UK?





OK, a couple more reds.

havas ww




deep focus











The Barbarian Group really goes enemy with a session about the art of procurement. How could an agency manager not want to spend his time working through this fun topic. That said, it is one I am looking forward to. We need some clarity here.





Laundry Service plays on its quirky name to draw you in and actually pay attention. However, I am still not sure how laundry and advertising go together. There must be a deeper meaning here.






Finally, from Olson, yet another red ad (I think that a lot of agencies must have read professor Heimrouge’s study of the color red as an attention device.)  This ad is one of the few pure brand ads and seems (I think) to announce that the mid-western agency is coming to New York. We need more agencies here.




Well, that’s my quick take. Take your’s at Advertising Week’s Guide.

My bottom line? Its nice to see so many agencies step up to the plate and sponsor programs and take the plunge into doing their own advertising. However, the great majority of these agencies missed the mark and an opportunity to strut their stuff. And… they can’t blame the client this time.

For even more on agencies, take a look at my multi-part “How to Position Ad Agencies.”

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