NEW YORK—Weber Shandwick, Allison + Partners, Kwittken Company, Bateman Group and RockOrange are among The Holmes Report’s 2014 Agencies of the Year for the Americas. The list also includes Canadian Agency of the Year Veritas and Latin American Agency of the Year Approach.
The firms were selected by The Holmes Report’s editorial staff from among finalists announced last week. The selections are based on our Agency Report Card process, which seeks input from more than 100 agencies across the US and the Americas, with growth, awards, and industry perceptions also taken into account.
You can view the Americas Specialist Agencies of the Year here.
The winners will be presented with their trophies at our annual SABRE Awards dinner, which will take place on May 6 and New York’s 42nd Street Cipriani.
Large Agency of the Year: Weber Shandwick
Weber Shandwick has been consistently outperforming its publicly-traded peers, both globally in and North America, for several years now, and the trend continued in 2013, with healthy double-digit growth cementing the firm’s position as a market leader. New business came from an interesting array of clients in multiple sectors, from Chobani to Nike to Nestle to Qualcomm to Cardinal Health, while the firm continued to produce impressive creative work: its Project Sunlight CSR efforts for Unilever, its World Hunger Relief campaign for Yum Brands, its corporate reputation work for General Motors and its continued marketing support for MilkPEP’s iconic “milk moustache” campaign are all nominated for SABRE Awards this year. A seamless leadership transition, with Sara Gavin elevated to president of North America as Cathy Calhoun took on a new global client offer role, helped the firm maintain its momentum, as did its increasingly impressive digital and social capabilities across the full range of paid, earned and owned media.—PH
Finalists: Edelman, FleishmanHillard, GolinHarris, Ketchum
Midsize Agency of the Year: Allison + Partners
Since its acquisition by MDC is 2010, Allison + Partners has gone from strength to strength, and 2013 was its best year to date, with strong growth (fees up 25 percent to $33 million); impressive new business (seven-figure wins including Intel and Toyota and assignments from The Economist, Frito-Lay, LinkedIn, Motorola Mobility, Mozilla and Zynga); international expansion, with new offices in China, Singapore, and France; and great work (eight Gold SABRE nominations, and highlights including the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy camera, Rav4 and Tundra launches for Toyota, and executive positioning for Whatsapp CEO Jan Koum. Just as impressive, the firm accomplished all of that while maintaining its distinctive, one profit-center culture, with its industry leading sabbatical program and commitment to professional development.—PH
Finalists: Havas, PadillaCRT, Ruder Finn, Spong
Small Agency of the Year: Kwittken + Company
Not only has Kwittken grown 15 percent in the last year, it has expanded its sector expertise and creative offerings both independent, and in partnership with fellow MDC-firm kbs+. Rather than taking a niche approach, partners Aaron Kwittken and Jason Schlossberg built their book of business — which includes American Express, P&G Prestige, Target and Sharp Electronics—across multiple sectors. And in partnering with its sister ad firm, the agency has been able to deliver on fully-integrated campaigns. In 2013, Kwittken hired an art director and made additions to its Content Labs practice. The eight-year-old firm ended the year with $6.4 million in revenues in the US, $8.4 globally across its offices in New York and London.—AaS
Finalists: Catalyst, Exponent, Jackson Spalding, JeffreyGroup
Boutique Agency of the Year: Bateman Group
Even amid steep competition from many tech PR newcomers, the Bateman Group held strong with 42 percent growth in 2013 — topping a three-year streak of more than 30 percent annual growth. With $4.4 million in billings and 26 employees the firm’s clients include AdRoll, Bunchball and Tidemark. Founder Fred Bateman’s philosophy is to keep both client and talent turnover low and build a culture around ethics and experimentation. In the last 12 months, this was reflected in big hires—like veteran journalists Elinor Mills and Scott Martin. This year, the firm is moving quickly into the content distribution and amplification arena. - AaS
Finalists: 451 Marketing, Henson Consulting, Konnect, Saxum
New Agency of the Year: RockOrange
Born in January of 2013, Miami-based RockOrange faced tough competition from tech start-ups and firms founded by big agency veterans to win our New Agency of the Year award, but distinguished itself with its philosophy (“we’re out there living life, exploring new cultures, on the street talking to people… listening and staying connected”) and its performance, which saw it pick up clients such as AARP, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Zumba and Burger King, Gloria and Emilio Estefan—the latter two of which employed founders Miguel Piedra and David Naranjo before the two decided to launch their new firm.—PH
Finalists: Hotwire, LDWW, Mighty, Pramana Collective
Canadian Consultancy of the Year: Veritas
Originally established in 1993 as a healthcare communications specialist, Veritas has diversified over the years and today focuses on “influencing the influencers” with a wide range of creative ideas (digital and social, experiential, and traditional) across multiple sectors. With revenues of $10 mllion and 70 professional staff, the firm is one of the top 10 PR agencies in the Canadian market, but it punches above its weight in terms of its blue-chip client roster (Target, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Subway, and new additions Microsoft, Volkswagen, Twitter, and Bayer’s Aleve brand); the quality of its creative work, including an integrated campaign to launch the Microsoft Surface tablet in Canada; and its thought leadership in areas ranging from social media to measurement and evaluation.—PH
Finalists: Edelman, Energi, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, National
Latin American Consultancy of the Year: Approach
One of the leading independent firms in the increasingly competitive and creative Brazilian market, Approach was founded in 1999 and is led today by a trio of former journalists: Beth Garcia, Sergio Pugliese, and Germana Costa Moura. While that guarantees the firm’s strong media relations capabilities, Approach has evolved its storytelling capabilities to include internal communications, government relations, and social media expertise. Growth in local currency terms was around 17 percent in 2013, while the client roster continues to expand, with names such as Redbull, Fiat, L'Oreal, Brown Forman, Subway, Mead Johnson, Petrobras, Coca-Cola, and British Airways. On the creative front, meanwhile, the firm picked up SABRE nominations for its work on two very different campaigns for the Rock in Rio music festival and Petrobas.—PH
Finalists: Burson-Marsteller, Imagem Corporotiva, Llorente & Cuenca, Urbano Group