Agency Report Cards

It has been a great year, overall, for interactive. More clients spent more money than ever in the medium, and ads migrated to sub-genres of interactive: iTV, mobile and podcasting are just a few of the new places to find the work created by the 18 agencies we have graded here. Here’s how we determine the grades. Numbers: We gathered information on revenue and staff from a number of sources: industry experts, syndicated data, published reports and other sources. We evaluate the agencies on revenue-to-staff ratio and revenue gains as compared with interactive-industry averages (this year’s aggregate average was about 27 percent) before determining a composite rank in both categories. Then, with the help of Adweek financial columnist Alan Gottesman, grades were determined for all 18 agencies. We also consider the revenue base for each agency in determining the grade. If a shop has a large percentage increase in revenue, but is starting from a small base, its grade may not be as high as a larger agency with a smaller percentage increase. Wins and losses in this category are for retainer-based clients, unless otherwise noted. Creative: Grades are based on design, ease of navigation, user experience and the overall power of the marketing idea. They take into account more than the work described in each shop’s creative section; space limitations prevent us from going into greater detail. Technology: Creating proprietary technologies garners high grades, though shops that find innovative ways to use existing technologies get credit, too. The bar has been raised exponentially over the past few years on this expertise; so have our expectations. Management: How executives run their businesses, taking into account revenue growth versus competitors, management moves to and from the company, and other initiatives. The final grade: We use a numeric formula to average the other four marks. —The Editors