The process of assembling this year’s Promo 100 ranking of the U.S.’s top promotional marketing agencies is markedly different from that of past years. We felt that it was time to change the methodology to wit: Creative work is no longer factored into the formula.
Previously, Promo magazine’s editorial staff graded submitted samples of agency work.
The decision to eliminate the creative element did not come lightly.
We previously had fielded numerous complaints from agencies that had been tossed wildly up and down the ranking from year to year, based on the editors’ opinions. But, editors aren’t creative directors, and we concluded that the subjective whims of journalists could skew the results. Furthermore, our new policy is that any judging of creative is best handled by peer review. That’s how the Interactive Marketing Awards were selected this past spring.
In the past few years, we also found that the same campaigns were being entered repeatedly for various competitions. It’s redundant to write about the same things, and we decided to base the list instead on empirical criteria (i.e., net revenue and growth).
Magazines in allied fields don’t include creative when they do their rankings. In fact, neither did Promo when the 100 was first published in 1993.
Furthermore, promotional agencies have different kinds of creative. An event is entirely different from an interactive campaign, and measuring one against another makes little sense.
Rest assured, though, that we’re not trying to denigrate the achievements of previously ranked agencies.
For those of you who need a creative fix, included in this issue’s Promo 100 package of articles, is our compilation of the top-15 promotional agencies in terms of creative awards based solely on wins and finalists of the IMAs and Pro Awards.
By the way, June 27 is the early deadline to enter the Pro Awards (and July 11 is the late deadline). Submit at www.theproawards.com.
While the vast majority of agencies this time around that entered the Promo 100 (about 125) did so without complaint, we did get a handful of protests from those that felt the inclusion of creative really set the Promo 100 apart.
Two agencies told us they weren’t entering because of the change. One felt it would rank too low on a list based solely on financials, and their creative was largely responsible for their previous respectable placements. The other agency was just ticked off.
We don’t pretend the Promo 100 is the ultimate ranking. After all, we’re at the mercy of agencies voluntarily sharing financial details that many consider to be private.
Perhaps the adage “It’s better to have loved than to not have loved at all” says it all.