Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Poll: What's Better - Big Agency Or Small Agency?

Last week nearly everyone voted that good work was primarily the result of a good relationship. I don't know about that. It certainly sounds nice. But there's plenty of cosy relationships out there producing shit work. I mean, agencies like Grey and McCann are known for the strength of their relationships, aren't they?

I voted that it's the Agency. Sounds egotistical, but there are certain agencies that do pretty good work on nearly all their accounts. That's not a coincidence.

This week's poll is about what is the best size of agency to work at.

The best post I've ever read on the subject was in a brilliant and under-appreciated blog called Advertising For Peanuts, in which the author came up with this neat list of Pro's and Con's:

Small Agency

You do everything, start to finish
You feel like part of a family
Uncomplicated work environment
You feel like you own the place

You do everything, start to finish
Social life?
No creative resources

Medium Agency

You have help from other departments to realize the work
Good peer pressure
Good roster of hungry clients (I think the size of the shop attracts the size of the client)
Lots of assignments floating around
Little politics

Long hours
Medium is a stepping stone to large

Large agency

Good pay and benefits
Short hours
Nice people

Lots of politics
Too many people working on a project
A good meeting is better than good work

But what's your preference? Let us know. And cast your vote, in the right hand column of this blog.

Previous poll results:
Friday Poll No.26 - Why Is Fallon's Print Not As Good As Their TV?
Friday Poll No.25 - Is Dave Trott's Thinking Still Relevant?
Friday Poll No.24 - Which Brand Would You Most LikeTo Work On?
Friday Poll No.23 - What Do Scamp Readers Do For A Living?
Friday Poll No.22 - What Time Do You Leave Work?
Friday Poll No.21 - Does Juan Earn One Million Pounds A Year?
Friday Poll No.20 - How Much Do You Earn?
Friday Poll No.19 - What Do You Think Of Our Trade Rag?
Friday Poll No.18 - Should A Creative Look Creative?
Friday Poll No.17 - Ad Of The Year 2007
Friday Poll No.16 - Do Difficult People Do The Best Work?
Friday Poll No.15 - Who Is Responsible For Ineffectiveness?
Friday Poll No.14 - Your Personal Success Record
Friday Poll No.13 - Which Department Is The Most Insane?
Friday Poll No.12 - What Music Do You Listen To While Working?
Friday Poll No.11 - What Time Do You Get In?
Friday Poll No.10 - Who Drinks The Most?
Friday Poll No.9 - Press v Online
Friday Poll No.8 - Success Or Glory?
Friday Poll No.7 - Is Reading Blogs A Waste Of Time?
Friday Poll No.6 - Job Satisfaction
Friday Poll No.5 - Festive Greetings
Friday Poll No.4 - Ad Of The Year 2006
Friday Poll No.3 - What's Your Favourite Medium To Work In?
Friday Poll No.2 - Agency Of The Year
Friday Poll No.1 - Which Department Is The Most Overpaid?


Anonymous said...

Well, I thought you meant the relationship between a good agency and a good client.

So Grey and McCann would be out.

And I think good agencies always put out good work because they attract good clients. A client looking for conservative work wouldn't put his account at Mother, for example

Anonymous said...

This is a very important point:

The bigger the agency, the less people notice when you disappear to the loo for a wank/long, long shit.

And the more loos there are. You can find a favourite, out of the way loo and hide there.

Anonymous said...

Poll: top agency bog.

Second from the door, sixth floor AMV. It's the management floor so they all have private loos and most of the management are birds anyway. No one to hear the vinegar strokes.

Anonymous said...

personally, if you are a creative looking for placement/starting out as a junior, i would go for small but good agencies, like dye holloway murray, karmarama, a+e etc. where you can literally chuck your work at the CD across from where you are sitting (on the flipside you are constantly being watched by them!).

when i was doing the placement rounds and went to big agencies while I must say the perks were great and is very well looked after on the welfare side of things. On the other hand you goof around alot, no one really cares who you are, what you do. Seeing the CD felt like queuing up to withdraw my savings from Northern Rock - nervous/don't know what will happen/waste of time/frustration. You also have to butter up the traffic and PA (see scamp's previous 2 post).

And then we went to a few little ones and till today I am grateful for doing that.

the biggest con (which ironically can be a pro as well) of going to small agencies is that you do everything yourself, pretty much from start to finish.

You don't have mac guys to help you move that stupid logo a little to the right.

Anonymous said...

Grey really comes in for a pounding here. True, their work has been dire for years. But does anyone think the Patton/Williams/Horsten regime will change anything? The Five stuff looks nice and the Frijj website is, well it isn't typical grey stuff. So could Grey actualy be heading towards that semi-mythical event, a turnaround?

Or will any creative who goes there end up flying cargo planes full of rubber dog shit out of hong kong?

Sell! Sell! said...

I've worked at a really good small agency, a really good medium one, and a couple of big ones that were ok, and I've got to say I think it's not the size that's important, it's the people. The medium one got to be a worse place to work when the key people changed. Also some small and medium places are set up like 'mini big agencies' - same problems, just smaller.

I think small places suit people who have an energetic, entrepreneurial spirit, and they can be places where you can improve very quickly, but they certainly aren't for everyone. Big agencies are good for people who want to hide, or want to live that life where you do one or two bits of decent work each year. Also, whether you like it or not, working at a big place you are working in a corporate company, with lots of meetings, people who don't seem to add much, appointments to see your boss etc. That suits some people, but not others.

So my experience is that it's the key people who are important - they set the culture and the style and the attitude of a place, not necessarily the size.

Anonymous said...

Scamp. Which category does BBH fall into? Got to be Large agency hasn't it? Is the precis you gave of a large agency how you'd descrbe it?

Scamp said...

No. But then it wasn't my precis. It was written by the Advertising For Peanuts guy.

Anonymous said...

That precis is so wrong then. Based on that you've got to vote for the small place

Anonymous said...

a big agency is for someone who wants an advertising job. whereas, a small agency is for someone who wants to do advertising.

Creative Park said...

Good, big agencies do good work.


The list begins
- Bigger creative resource
- Better/healthier budget
- Account teams that can sell the on and off brief ideas

I'm not saying smaller agencies don't produce good ideas but with out the resource and expertise that the bigger agencies have on tap then following through on projects is simply painful and after a while it does get dull.

The smaller agencies are where you learn the most about your industry, unlike bigger agencies most creative from smaller agencies follow through on most elements of a campaign where as people from bigger agencies pass the idea to planners, designer etc.

Is it laziness, process or just a general lack of enthusiasm that some people don't follow through?

Anonymous said...

I'd say it's the size of the client that has more bearing on creative quality and the enjoyment of the process. If a big agency has a mix of big multi national accounts and small local clients you get the best of both worlds.

Anonymous said...

I followed through on holiday once. Couldn't get used to the food. Made a terrible mess, so I told the cleaning staff that it was my brother's bed, hahaha...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Cheers, I thought so too. Shame they didn't...

Anonymous said...

How many Cannes golds did BBH win this year scamp?

Gordon's Gin
Lynx (which BBH London can't seem to crack anymore)

So BBH consistently make good work across every client do they?!

Bollocks they do you hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

scamp's excuse about cannes is that it is all scams isn't it? yawn...

speaking of scamps check out W+K shanghai.. yup, you've read it right.. W+K.

Scamp said...

Goodness gracious, I hope I'm not a hypocrite. Let me see, what did I write? That good agencies do "pretty good work" across all their clients.

I'd say BBH does that on all the accounts you mentioned.

Maybe not Cannes gold-winning, not last year at least, but certainly pretty good.

And the Lions will be back next year I'm sure.

George said...

I thought clients cared about selling their product and making more profit year on year, not Cannes Golds.

A Cannes Gold does not necessarily mean they are selling a shit load of their product, it just means that we all like the ads and give ourselves a self congratulatory pat on the back. Granted, the likes of Gorilla have proved both effective and good films, but similarly the Woolworths campaign has kept people shopping there in their droves. It was never meant to be award winning work. Same goes for Currys, PC World, Argos etc etc.

Anonymous said...

@ J

That's W&K, not W+K.

Chinese are definitely great when it comes to copycats.

Anonymous said...

Big agency, small agency it really doesn't matter that much. It's all about the ability of the people and the chemistry with clients and partners. At the beginning of the year Scamp did a piece on the new cd's around town at MCBD, RKCR, Saatchi, Fallon, Hurrell and Dawson, Grey and JWT I think. That's a mix of small to large places - how are these new cd's faring? Have they made a positive or negative impact or is it all pretty much the same? Discuss

Anonymous said...

sorry lou, but a more interesting topic fork would be to ask scamp why all the lynx/axe stuff isn't being made by bbh london anymore?