AdweekMedia’s Agency of the Year 2010

Finding companies that have done something different is not that difficult. Finding firms that have been both innovative and successful is somewhat harder. We’re pleased to have found no less than eight such companies. 

This year, in a break with our tradition, we have selected six “insurgents” alongside our Creative Agency and Media Agency of the Year. These shops have forced their way into our attention by conducting business in unique ways or by focusing on endeavors ignored by others. 

Our insurgents span a range of disciplines, from PR to branded entertainment to marketing software. There are even a couple of ad agencies in there. All push at the edges of the advertising and marketing business, collectively illustrating the future. 

Our Agency of the Year, Wieden + Kennedy, raised the bar this year for cross-platform campaigns and gave new meaning to the phrase “join the conversation” with its campaign for Old Spice. Others will be trying to emulate its approach for years to come. 

Horizon Media, our Media Agency of the Year, is the largest such shop not owned by a holding company. Led by CEO Bill Koenigsberg, it has shown the way forward by diversifying aggressively and profitably. 

This is the 25th time we’ve made these selections of the best in our field. We believe the new structure of our choices presents a collection of ventures that are reshaping the industry.

WIEDEN + KENNEDY
Embracing digital via Old Spice and Nike creative leads to AOY laurels.

HORIZON MEDIA
The last big indie evolves under the leadership of CEO Bill Koenigsberg.

ANOMALY
Impressing more major clients with its ideas, not ads.

BREAKFAST

“Hardware hackers” build “toys” in the service of marketing.

BUDDY MEDIA
Making Facebook more friendly to marketers’ brands.

ELECTUS
Reality TV and product placement color Ben Silverman’s new venture.

OUTCAST

This tech marketing powerhouse is not your standard PR practice.

GREAT WORKS
Swedes combine digital advertising, filmmaking and art in New York.

WIEDEN + KENNEDY

Sweet Smell of Success

A cross-platform campaign for Old Spice catapults the agency into the digital elite

By Eleftheria Parpis

Photos by Chris Mueller

Wieden + Kennedy was in a digital death spiral. The iconic creative shop behind Nike was blocked on how to adjust its psyche and personnel to embrace the digital shift transforming media and marketing.

It already had lost some Nike business when, in 2007, the agency’s founding client shifted its core running division due to Wieden’s lack of interactive depth. The shop needed to evolve quickly or die.

“We were not the swiftest picking up on the digital revolution,” says Dan Wieden, co-founder and global ecd. He told his staff, he says, that “whether we like it or not, the rest of the world has eclipsed us. If we don’t get our act together, we are going to be a footnote.”

Now, thanks to its breakout campaign for Old Spice’s Red Zone Body Wash—which broke with a Super Bowl weekend TV spot—Wieden is the agency your agency could smell like.

The work, a slightly twisted, tongue-in-cheek production starring a towel-wearing Isaiah Mustafa, was part of a concerted effort by the agency to strengthen its digital offerings. The results have landed the shop in its own version of Bizzarro World, a place where other marketers are looking to “The man your man could smell like” for ideas on how to run their own campaigns. The creative has garnered the brand a 2,700 percent increase in Twitter followers, 800 percent increase in Facebook fan page visits and a 300 percent increase in traffic to the Old Spice Web site. It’s also generated an estimated 140 million YouTube views.