Where are all the innovative ad agencies?

Fast Company
just published its list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies. (It’s not online yet.) The top three won’t surprise anyone—Google, Apple and Facebook. Naturally, I went looking for the brightest lights of agencydom. After all, the magazine’s criteria should be a readymade fit for agencies: “companies that dazzle with new ideas—and prove beyond a doubt how business is a force for change.” Fast Company musters a little love for the agency world. Anomaly checks in at No. 24, even though it goes to great pains in its blurb to say it’s not just an ad agency. (The magazine rightly praises Anomaly’s work for Virgin Atlantic, leaving out the inconvenient fact that it lost the account.) It’s not until No. 48 that another agency pops up: AKQA, lauded by Fast Company for combining creative ideas with the tech firepower to bring them to life. You won’t find the shops that usually win the laurels—no TBWA, no Goodby, no Droga5, and—wait for it—no Crispin Porter. Fast Company even passes over its favorite wall-breaking agency.

—Posted by Brian Morrissey