In just a couple days, we can officially say we survived 2017. Congratulations, you all deserve a drink! But you were probably way ahead of us.
In many ways, this year felt like an extension of the shitstorm that was 2016 as we enter a new Gilded Age (now with more “nationalistic” flavor!). But there were some larger cultural changes, especially over the past three months, as cases involving Bill O’Reilly and Harvey Weinstein helped encourage the hundreds of women who have already spoken up about harassment and the thousands more who will certainly follow them. And things weren’t all bad, culturally speaking: we enjoyed the familiar pleasures of Slowdive and Dave Chappelle, and a whole lot of talented people wrote, directed, played and created really cool things throughout the year.
The ad industry also went back over some of the same ground in 2017. Erin Johnson‘s sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit has yet to be resolved; meanwhile, Gustavo Martinez popped up in a new executive role at WPP. Diversity and transparency studies continue to be released, but the gap between ideation and execution stays stubbornly still on both fronts.
Big Things that didn’t happen this year: the consultancies didn’t come for your accounts (except maybe once or twice). No single, brilliant mind cracked the boutique business model, thereby rendering “legacy” agencies irrelevant forever. No individual figured out the perfect combination of platforms to promote potato chips.
But plenty of accounts changed hands in 2017. Many media RFPs were issued, and some big spenders abandoned the AOR approach just as a few famous names, like our friend Ian Schafer, said adios to agency life. Unfortunately, lots of people were also forced to look for new jobs—especially as the holidays approached—so that holding companies could continue to serve the needs of their investors.
So basically, it was another year.
There were some changes in 2017, though. The Super Bowl got political, Saatchi & Saatchi moved out of its longtime home and Publicis submitted to its AI overlord, Marcel. In recent news you did not miss, the year ended with one of advertising’s biggest scandals in recent memory, as The Martin Agency CCO Joe Alexander exited after 26 years and several sexual harassment claims. Since that news broke, many in the business have wondered aloud about which name might come next.
A certain in-house Pepsi ad was inarguably the most reviled of the year, while McCann’s “Fearless Girl” and BBDO New York’s “Evan” cleaned up at the awards shows that Publicis will be skipping in 2018.
We do need to address the no-longer-anonymous elephant in the room: This year our readers shared many comments about the changing of the comments, and the sentiment they expressed was almost universally MAD. As we continue to be absorbed into the ever-growing, maybe-organic mass that is Facebook, the only way for an angry copywriter to let the world know what he REALLY thinks about his ECD is to create a fake account. Or to use Fishbowl, which often links to our stuff anyway. Good luck with that UX. One reminder: the tip box is still 100% anonymous. And so it will remain.
People still clicked on our stories regardless, and algorithms are the only things that matter now … so here are the 27 most popular posts of the past 12 months.
- 27. The AgencySpy Comments Are Changing
- 26. End of An Era: Saatchi & Saatchi Moves Into Publicis HQ After 30 Years on Hudson Street
- 25. A Martin Agency Account Supervisor Offers Her Perspective With #NotMyMartin Post
- 24. Cows Enjoy VR in McCann New York’s First Work for Chick-Fil-A
- 23. Chief Creative Officer Toby Barlow Out at WPP’s Dedicated Ford Agency GTB After More Than a Decade
- 22. Here’s the Problem with That Content Studio You Just Built
- 21. BBDO, AT&T Sing Through March Madness
- 20. 100-Plus Layoffs Hit WPP’s Ford Agency Global Team Blue This Week
- 19. The Martin Agency Abruptly Parts With Chief Creative Officer Joe Alexander
- 18. Student Crafts ‘Break Free’ Spec Spot for Adidas
- 17. A ‘Stuntman Cheats Death Again’ in The Martin Agency’s Latest for Geico
- 16. Ogilvy Philippines Strategist Dies After Allegedly Working Overtime While Suffering from Pneumonia
- 15. IPG’s Michael Roth Becomes First Holding Company CEO to Speak Out on Charlottesville Violence via Internal Memo
- 14. BBDO New York’s ‘Live Super Bowl Commercial’ for Snickers Went Off the Rails (Intentionally)
- 13. Omnicom Consultancy Flamingo Group to Close 7 of 8 Offices, Consolidate Operations in London
- 12. Global Restructuring at TBWA\Media Arts Lab as Apple Shifts Toward Digital, Regional Work
- 11. Wendy’s Shows Us All How to Respond to a Twitter Troll
- 10. Nissan Moves Its Business Away from TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles After 30 Years
- 9. Let’s All Join the Pepsi Kendall Jenner Pile-On, Shall We?
- 8. VaynerMedia Goes Through Another Round of Restructuring, Reduces Staff in N.Y. and L.A.
- 7. We Hear: VaynerMedia New York Goes Through a Round of Layoffs
- 6. Shea Moisture Has Been Direct Messaging Black Influencers Unhappy With Its Recent VaynerMedia Ads
- 5. Couple (Allegedly) Having Sex in Public Draws Complaints at Ad Tech Conference in Phuket
- 4. The 2017 Kia Cadenza, Christina Hendricks Are ‘Impossible to Ignore’ in David&Goliath’s Latest
- 3. Leo Burnett Creatives Replace Founder’s Name on Chicago Office with ‘Marcel’ to Protest New Anti-Awards Policy
- 2. This Production Company Made an Incognito Hip-Hop Video Over 2 Years of Commercial Shoots
- 1. Internal Memo: TBWA\Chiat\Day New York CEO Never Bought Into ‘The Whole Work-Life Balance Thing’
A final note: as you’re drinking your way toward midnight on Sunday in hopes that 2018 might be a little better (spoiler: it won’t), please pour one out for Jexy and Nuno, who missed their friend’s bachelor party to come up with some great ideas for a creative review that their agency didn’t even win.
Long live advertising!