THE BLOG

New York Ad Agency Uplift

03/17/2015 04:14 pm ET | Updated May 17, 2015

First you take Manhattan, then you take Berlin.

In advertising, the New York Ad scene remains significantly influential. There's no doubt the city has a hard to replicate culture for creative experimentation and innovation.

Over the years, the ad agency scene has evolved. And recently, the pace has quickened. Advertising agencies in New York City are plentiful and continue to attract national and international clients.

From a few well-known institutional agencies decades ago, the NYC ad industry has splintered and expanded with new agencies offering fresh perspective and fragrant ideas. Many of the forces that have given rise to these shops are steady in their essential dynamics - namely, innovation and talent.

For example, I moved to New York and opened StrawberryFrog a decade ago, pitting resourcefulness and a "do more with less" challenger mindset up against the large corporate agencies that had dominated the ad scene.

Alongside the Frogs, a select group of inventive agencies broke into the market: Anomaly, Mother and AKQA. Back then these breakout challengers pushed through the ceiling and started to woo and win some of the most respected brands in the U.S. - Mother won Stella Artois, Anomaly won Converse, AKQA won Nike, and StrawberryFrog won Jim Beam and Pampers digital.

The industry was watching and young talent looked out the window and said, hey if they can do it, we can do it too. Then everybody started running faster and faster, doing more start-ups, and soon new agencies were opening in the city that rarely, if ever, sleeps.

Competition hit the streets and clients benefited because something big happened. The work got better and so did the talent - buoyed by a new generation of agencies but also educated by an extraordinary range of schools such as the Miami Ad School, VCU Brand Center, Seneca College and Advertising schools at Austin and in Oregon and others that have incubated more talent.

Fast-forward a few years and now there are hundreds of big and small advertising and marketing agencies in New York City. Every day new shops open their doors. Some are integrated; some offer a mixture of advertising agency and social media agency, while others are purely social, or design, or digital, branding, or purely strategy in the case of 'Now What.'

In addition to a lot of new agencies, the industry has new competition from the technology sector such as Google, Apple and Facebook - all of which have taken an increasingly larger share of clients and budgets away from agencies but also hired away agency talent. Some argue that this is a trend that will swing back the other way one day as creative talent seeks more freedom.

The legacy New York agencies still do very well. Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal has the national BMW account, McCann New York have recently reinvented the management team as has JWT New York bringing in Adam Kerj former Chief Creative Officer of 360i, and Ogilvy New York recently promoted Corinna Falusi to the CCO position. Donny Deutsch's agency, one of the better-known in the city, is thriving. Added to this, some agencies have found uplift including Droga 5, Barton F. Graf 9000 and Big Spaceship.

And where will the ad scene go from here? While the future of the New York Advertising Agency is difficult to predict, the perspective of knowledge focuses on what can be predicted with certain reliability. It's fairly safe to assume that there will be more many more versatile marketing agencies opening doors in a NYC neighborhood near you doing it better, smarter or cheaper.

The feeling of NYC is electrifying. The ad business is a stressful business but nothing beats the feeling of walking out onto the streets of the New York City after a day at the office. There's nothing like the old school vibe and energy and the skyline to revitalize and inspire.

The competition in NY is even stronger now than ever so clients get more bang for their buck and increasingly with all the innovation happening, more buck for their bang.