Dan Wieden, co-founder of Wieden+Kennedy, one of the largest independently-owned advertising agencies in the world, has a prescient sense of timing.
After speaking to the audience at the Ad Age Small Agency Conference that the ad agency giants are “wobbling like drunkards”, the largest merger in ad-world history took place between Publicis and Omnicom. I believe him when he says he wishes he were small again. One sees so many of the best creatives leave their big agencies to join or start small ones. And I think it is because big agencies are the enemy of the very reason to be an agency in the first place: creativity. Bureaucracy, specialization, narrow-focus jobs, boredom – the behemoths abound with such. I wonder how clients imagine they are going to get real creativity from such places. Quite simply, one rarely does. Those billion-dollar mistakes that people laugh and shake their heads at in my lectures? — Big agencies.
We’ve had several “escapees” enjoy the unlocking of creative potential that comes from trading working on one tiny sliver of one account to working on several facets of several accounts. Instead of trying to see the world through a keyhole, one gets to see how people and the economy are broadly functioning, and at the end of the day it is the ability to navigate this dynamic that brings success for clients. When you are just one piece of the jigsaw, you never get to see the beauty of the whole puzzle.
So this may seem like a naked plug for IE. In a way I guess it is. But like Dan Wieden, I am a passionate believer of small agencies. I’m just lucky enough to work for one too. Now you know why I am always smiling.
— Simon Dixon, Idea Engineering, CEO