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This Big vs. Small Agency Stuff Isn't New
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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AdLand has seen its share of turmoil. Mergers and acquisitions, in some years, become the regular rather than the rarity. Instead of searching for new talent, or a new agency, it seems that brands tend to search for the big, proven, and traditional agencies. Every couple of years, professionals start to think that the independent agency, or the bunch of new, young creatives, can't possibly make it in a world where the Houses of Advertising reign supreme.

At times, we have been in that camp.

But after some research on the past, it can be determined that AdLand, much like the stock market, is cyclical. 

For example: David Ogilvy, one of AdLand's greats, was starting an agency at a time huge agencies like J. Walter Thompson were running things in America. How was he going to make his mark?

In Ogilvy's book, Confessions of an Advertising Man, Ogilvy quoted John Orr Young of Young and Rubicam, still one of the bigger agencies in the nation, when Young was giving advice about finding agencies.

Young, according to Ogilvy, stated:
If you are lucky enough to find some young men with that special energy and daring which leads them into business for themselves, you will benefit from having that incalculably valuable quality serving you. It is easy to be beguiled by acres of desks, departments, and other big agency appurtenances. What counts is the real motive power of the agency, the creative potency.
Basically, Young was saying that although the big and resourceful agencies are impressive, finding those agencies with people who are hungry to build daring and new creative is the advantage brands should be looking for.

Fast forward to today, and we see how Ogilvy + Mather, Young & Rubicam, turned out. Perhaps those words, back then, had a point.

What's the point?

Brands and brand managers: Please do not immediately write off the young and new agencies popping up in AdLand. Though the big agencies have proven records, do not prevent new agencies the opportunity and ability to start one. Because if Young was right, your brand could discover the next Y&R, the next Ogilvy + Mather, or even the next Bates Advertising.

Wouldn't that be worth the dare to try someone new?

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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