Making the Grades: Pros

And Cons of Report Cards
Adweek’s report-card issue [April 24] always leaves predictable noise in its wake. Those who do well look at the grades as affirmation of their brilliant leadership and excellent work. Others attack the process, question the objectivity of the source and curse the messenger. Having worked with scores of agencies, I must acknowledge mixed feelings about the grading process.
On one hand, I admire Adweek for providing something beyond revenue rankings and creative awards as means of measuring an agency’s performance. You have created a fair methodology and spent substantial time and effort preparing each review. There is no basis to discount these reports out of hand as analytically or politically flawed.
However, Adweek’s grades do not help an agency understand where they need to improve or focus their resources. The other missing perspective is that of clients. I wonder how many C-rated agencies are getting A’s from their clients, and how many A-rated performers are ranked lower by their clients. If I were an agency CEO, I know which A would be more important to me.
Many of the best shops are readily apparent–Bartle Bogle Hegarty, The Martin Agency, Goodby–and their results speak for themselves. Others are less “visible”: Barkley Evergreen & Partners, Y&R’s Lincoln Mercury team and Rubin Postaer. Each may have flaws, and you may take issue with their work, but on balance, I would happily acquire each one and create a marketing juggernaut (if only I could).
But I have a confession to make. As much as I believe that agency performance can be measured, I can usually tell within minutes of walking in the door what kind of shop it is. And I’ll bet the folks from Adweek and prospective clients can, too.
Jeff Burkel
Agency Management Group Pittsburgh

The Kids Are All Wrong: Where Are the Women?
Guy, guy, guy, guy, girl. Are there that few super-girls coming into the ad business these days?
Where’s the balance? Your feature [“The Kids Are Alright,” April 24] reads like an advertising boys club promo.
In an industry that has always had strong–even legendary–creatives of both genders, why is Adweek intent on telling a boy story?
Carla Hansen
Copy supervisor
Grey Direct
New York