Friday, April 20, 2007

Report Cards

I know this is a little late coming, but Adweek's report cards are out and I thought I'd take a moment to point out just how stupid this tradition is: very.

In the words of Alison Fahey, "As usual, we welcome your comments and even your criticisms."

Well, Alison, here you go.

Summing up an agency, any agency, with A's and B's is pointless.
The methodology is ill-defined (for well-defined methodology, I point you to the elaborate, and well-documented weighted grading system Creativity used to determine the "most awarded agency"), the creative commentary is lame ("KFC spot with firefighters ribbing each other about lunch for under a dollar feels phoney."), and the results are pointless.
And all of this to sell Adweek magazine to people who already subscribe for pithy articles like "WPP records sluggish Q1" and "Draft Focuses on Results."

I mean, I read Adweek as much as the next advertising professional, but come ON.

Let's look at these overall grades:

Arnold C (D numbers, B+ creative, C- management)
BBDO B+ (B, A-, B+)
BBH B+ (B-, A-, B+)

Are you asleep yet? We haven't even gotten to the Campbells.

Campbell-Ewald C+
Campbell-Mithun C+
Carmichael-Lynch B-
Cramer-Krasselt A-
Deutch C+
Donor C
Draft FCB C-
Euro B
Fallon B
Goodby A-
Grey C+
Hill, Holiday B
Kaplan B
Lowe C
Martin B
McCann B
Merkley C
Mullen B

(Still reading? Bless you)

Ogilvy B
Publicis B+
Hal Riney D+
Richards Group C+
Saatchi B+
Chiat/Day A-
W&K B+
Y&R C-
Zimmerman C

(and now, the super regionals)

Berlin- Cameron C
Bernstein-Rein C-
McKinney C+
Modernista A-
Venables Bell B-

The professionals at Adweek will point out that CPB's work "has been exemplary" (pandering) "but with a hiccup here and there" Well no shit - name the agency that takes the risks CPB takes and succeeds EVERY time?

What I hate about this stuff - yes, yes, I'm a creative person in a business world - is that it assumes that there is some way to scientifically judge an agency based on more than its business record. Why bother? Tell us how the numbers break down, who's making a ton of cash and let us all quietly understand that agencies that make 1.2 billion in billings may not be doing the best work in the country.

Save creative judgement for the Andy's. Every agency has its share of work it would rather not enter in the awards shows. But giving Crispin Porter Bogusky an A- for creative is like giving Elvis an A- for wardrobe. They both still kick ass (and I suspect CPB will bring Elvis back from the dead soon enough to properly compare the two.)

"In determining creative grades, like most award shows, we judge the work based on creativity, originality, positioning and strategy. We do not gauge effectiveness. We continue to review nontraditional and integrated campaigns, an addition to the process in the last two years. "

Who's we? The Best Spots crew? Internationally reknowned creative directors? Disgruntled clients? Why not judge effectiveness, if you're going through all this effort? Why stop short of which agencies are actually DOING THEIR JOB? How is that irrelevant in this too-broad-to-be-effective report? Too hard to judge effectiveness? More subjective to judge effectiveness than creative?

Another major issue this report fails to report is on any agency doing anything meaningful in the regional or local level. Is that true? If it isn't being done by a $33 million agency, it isn't worth grading? Strawberry Frog has been in nearly every pitch of note of the last 12 months, and yet there's no reason to included them with Kaplan Thayer and Grey?

Here's my equally relevant grade on the report cards: W.F. Cares?

1 comment:

Make the logo bigger said...

“We do not gauge effectiveness.”

HA! Fuckin A. But clients sure do.

That’s pretty much saying, “fuck the concert, we only care about the sound check.”