Jupiter Drawing Room boss, Graham Warsop, has urged AdReview editor Tony Koenderman to review his approach to listing and awarding specialist disciplines ahead of the publication of AdReview 2012.
“Currently, only specialist digital agencies are listed in the digital agency tables and eligible to win Digital Agency of the Year. So no matter how good an integrated agency performs in this space it can never gain recognition for the strength of its digital offering. The same is true of design and other disciplines.” says Warsop.
Historically, FinWeek’s AdReview has published specialist tables listing the best digital, design, sponsorship, direct agencies and so on. Only specialist agencies dedicated to these disciplines have been featured in the tables and been eligible to be recognised for outstanding achievement in these areas.
“This may distort the reality of where the best work in a specialist discipline is being created, undermining AdReview’s attempt to publish a guide for marketers looking for hot beds of exceptional talent in specific communications fields,” Warsop says.
“AdReview has become a valuable reference guide for clients in South Africa, and if they are looking for outstanding digital or design, a table that fails to list the most accomplished digital or design talent just because it resides in an ad agency that provides other offerings too, is unfortunate,” he says.
Warsop says Jupiter’s competitors in the integrated agency space have opened specialist divisions to handle specialist disciplines but Jupiter’s approach is to concentrate on providing “best of breed specialist disciplines from under one roof”.
“Some have used the argument that integrating a number of disciplines in one agency makes the agency a Jack of all trades and master of none. At Jupiter we reject that assumption,” “says Warsop. We wish to develop, under one roof, a range of integrated best of breed disciplines that become the benchmark for the industry. That is the Holy Grail.”
Warsop says integrated agencies avoid the ‘protecting one’s turf’ and ‘competing for budget’ scenarios that can arise when different divisions compete with each other, often to the detriment of the best interests of the client.
Warsop says The Jupiter Drawing Room (Cape Town) was ranked the second best performing agency in the world at America’s prestigious One Show Design awards and locally was the best performing design agency at Loeries. Yet it is currently ineligible to appear in AdReview’s table of design agencies and ineligible for a Design Agency of The Year ranking because it’s an integrated agency, not a specialist design agency.
“If the specialist discipline is housed outside an integrated agency it’s eligible, but if it’s housed within an integrated agency, it’s not. It seems to be a somewhat artificial distinction,” he says.
Warsop believes the ad industry should be open to “constant re-evaluation and making the “digital, design, direct, sponsorship and other categories eligible to all worthy industry players, not just those many fine companies that specialise in a particular discipline, would be a step forward”.