We’ve been bunkered up for a few weeks judging our Agency of the Year awards. This has meant poring over creative reels, re-reading thought-leadership pieces, comparing management teams, evaluating account moves, scrutinising diversity stats and initiatives.
And hell, it’s been a joyful experience. Because right here in the thick middle of debate around the creaking agency model, declining revenues, weakening share prices, marketing budget-tightening and client in-housing, there’s still a whole fat globe of brilliant businesses thrumming with success.
So turn down the prevailing masochistic nihilism and tune in to the best people and the best businesses who are thriving on challenge and change.
All our winners are crafting work, shaping strategies and innovating in ways that suggest an industry at the top of its game. And it’s not a fragile veneer; in most categories there were fiercely credible contenders who were so close to the main prize we had to scalpel them apart.
Campaign is immensely proud to be able to celebrate them all. Yes there’s a sagging underbelly of struggling agencies straining to adapt to some of the challenges mentioned above.
And a look at the WPP share price graph tells the story of a fundamental – and necessary – reframing of the status quo that will drag some agencies and people under the wheel. We cannot pretend that there’s not plenty of pain out there. But nor should we allow the narrative of change to suggest that everything’s screwed.
I’m fed up with gloominess about the current political climate or industry re-engineering infecting the prognosis for all our futures. The best companies and the best people will adapt and thrive whatever the challenge, and they’ll continue to inspire and excite those around them to do the same.