Is Bigger Really Better?

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The Publicis-Omnicom merger is the talk of ad land right now. Agencies big and small are discussing the ramifications of the merger of the two giants. Some ad mavens say this majorly changes the advertising game and others say that it’s all smoke and mirrors. Questions about agency size are rampant: Is bigger really better? What does the merger mean for smaller agencies? Are smaller agencies doomed to fail?

On one side we have the argument that a larger network enables agencies to provide high quality services; on the other side, we have the argument that smaller shops are more nimble, innovative, and flat out produce better results. Wieden of Wieden+Kennedy fame even went on record recently  to assert that small is beautiful.

It’s really difficult to objectively say which argument prevails. I can, however, objectively measure the creative results of agencies through publications like Communication Arts. I decided to do just that using the 2012 list of winners. The results? 66 percent  of awards were from agencies that were part of a large network. 34 percent were from smaller agencies that were not part of a large network and that had under 200 employees.

Now, this makes it seem like large networks have ‘won,’ but we also have to take into account certain discrepancies.  Firstly, large networks bring in billions of dollars of revenue. Surely, larger agencies are producing more work, therefore giving them more of a chance to receive awards. Secondly, we also have to account for all the offices within a network that operate like creative boutiques or idea incubators (I.E. Google Creative Lab).

When you decide to include smaller agencies that are part of a larger network, the results are absolutely stunning. More than half of all awards in Communication Arts end up coming from small agencies.  That’s not even taking into account agencies like Wieden+Kennedy, a large agency that tries to think like a smaller agency. Proving that, at least when it comes to creative, it doesn’t hurt to ‘Think small.’

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From Millennials to McDonald’s: Please Don’t Try So Hard

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Dearest McDonald’s,

I write to you with the utmost reverence. For your name is known throughout all corners of the world (and even the non-corners).   However, you must remain vigilant, because it’s lonely at the top and easy to fall off.

You see, my friend, the world always remains in a state of flux. To stay on top you must always adapt. Even the best brands can easily fall from the top, that is, if they don’t keep up.

You must reach millennials—my generation— now or risk losing relevancy. You currently don’t even rank among our top 10 favorite restaurant chains.  What happened?  29% of all our trips to fast food consist of burger joints, so there are plenty of opportunities for you.

Perhaps it’s because my people want customization and you simply aren’t giving it to us. That’s partially why Subway remains more on our radar these days. I know you have released the McWrap. That’s a good start, but it’s not enough. I still don’t feel like I can have it my way at McDonald’s. One wrap isn’t going to change that. You need to continue to introduce more products to remain competitive.

I also appreciate that you are trying to reach us through commercials like this Fish McBites one.  But most of them come across as flat. They don’t get us talking about the brand. And who can forget that whole #McDstories fiasco?  That’s certainly not the way to get us to engage with your brand.

Truth be told, it would add a whole new level of refreshment if you would stop pretending that you make the most delicious food on the planet. It’s not gourmet. No. Everyone knows it’s fast food. And what’s wrong with that? Sure, there’s no denying the research, my generation is a bit more health-conscious. But we still need a quick fix every once in a while.