Advertising Agency of the Year 2020: Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Gold: Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein have reached iconic status in the advertising world. Since founding Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P) in 1983, the pair have been responsible for some of advertising’s cleverest campaigns, and their achievements were recognized in 2019 when they were awarded the Cannes Lion of St. Mark Lifetime Achievement Award.

While GS&P is a rare example of a founder-led agency thriving within a holding company, its success is due to more than just the efforts of Goodby and Silverstein. Two other leaders at GS&P are recognized by Campaign US this year — Graham North for Strategic Planner and Margaret Johnson for Creative Person. 

Johnson embodies one of GS&P’s central goals: to be an agency where diverse creative visionaries can grow to become industry leaders. Half of GS&P’s partners and 73% of its department heads are women. Agency policies to narrow the gender gap have helped the bottom line as well, with a 40% increase in revenue since they were adopted in 2016. 

For GS&P, 2020 included excellent creative work while engaging with the issues that defined the year. For PepsiCo, the agency created four memorable and humorous Super Bowl ads — for Cheetos, Doritos, SodaStream and Pepsi Zero Sugar. A holiday windows program with PayPal raised brand awareness and Adobe ads highlighted the creative work it makes possible. 

At the same time, GS&P created the Not a Gun campaign for the Courageous Conversation Global Foundation, Respond2Racism (which included a first-responder Twitter bot to educate people tweeting anti-Asian messages) and Life Below Water, a documentary on plastic pollution. 

Silver: Wieden+Kennedy

Wieden+Kennedy has come a long way since it was founded 38 years ago in Portland, Oregon, by Dan Wieden and David Kennedy. Their first client was Nike, and Wieden+Kennedy helped turn it into a global brand while the agency grew into a global presence. Today, it employs 1,540 people in 52 countries. 

Wieden+Kennedy remains the AOR for Nike, and this year it helped its audience transition to keeping fit from home. Wieden+Kennedy also reimagined the Nike “Just Do It” tagline as “Don’t Do It” for a racism awareness effort. PSAs for Oregon Governor Kate Brown regarding COVID-19, a Ford payment relief program and the entirely organic relaunch of the Ford Bronco and a McDonald’s campaign to provide healthcare workers and first responders with thank you meals were highlights of its work for other clients. In total, Wieden+Kennedy added 27 new clients in 2020 representing $32 million in revenue.

Bronze: Mischief @ No Fixed Address

While other agencies were struggling to transform themselves, Mischief @ No Fixed Address opened its doors mid-pandemic, led by Greg Hahn and Dave Lafond. Mischief quickly made an impression with surprising and cheeky campaigns for clients including Capri Sun, OKCupid and Kraft Mac and Cheese. The agency used Deepfake technology to have Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin deliver messages on behalf of nonprofit RepresentUs and encouraged consumers of Kraft Mac and Cheese to “send noods.” The work pushes boundaries, but the results are impressive: a 250% increase in website views for RepresentUs and more than 500 million impressions for the noods campaign.

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