2016 Review: Agencies of the Year, MVP’s, etc.

That was the year that was

unknown-1 “Father Christmas, give us some money 
Don’t mess around with those silly toys   
We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over
We want your bread so don’t make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys.”Ray Davies  

War is over…the war on Christmas, that is. We enter the era of bullies and reverse Robin Hoods that steal from the poor and give to the rich. The advertising industry should feel right at home.

9 big wins:

  1. AT&T consolidating its billion-dollar business with Omnicom
  2. Sprint goes to Droga5
  3. Grey hooks Pfizer
  4. Goodby Silverstein snags Chrysler
  5. Wieden + Kennedy adds Chobani
  6. W+K also adds Duracell
  7. Chik-fil-A fires Richards Group after 20 years; hires McCann
  8. Nationwide Insurance hits up Oglivy
  9. McDonald’s signs up with We Are Unlimited — a pop-up agency fronted by Wendy Clark

5 impact hires:  


  1. Spence Kramer, W+K alum, named CEO at JWT Atlanta
  2. The peripatetic Bobby Pearce named CCO at David & Goliath
  3. Wade Alger goes to TBWA/NY
  4. Beats by Dr. Dre hires Perry Fair as SVP/Brand
  5. Mike Lear leaves Martin Agency for Erwin-Penland

Scandal of the Year

The bombshell allegations made against JWT Global CEO, Gustavo Martinez — doubtlessly the juiciest story of the year.


Okay, you don’t need me to tell you what you already know. Sure, Wieden, Martin, Crispin, Droga and BFG9000 are hot stuff. But who made the biggest breakthroughs in 2016?

Agency of the Year (Network division): Bright Red\TBWA

curtis   The Southeast outpost of global creative powerhouse TBWA, Florida-based Bright Red killed it in 2016. New business wins included:  Cayman Islands, Krystal Burgers, Youfit Health Clubs, and Gold Toe Socks. Significant hires paid off the likes of Jason Hatfield, EVP, Director of Client Services,  Jenn Kennedy, VP, Director of Digital, Suzanne Flowers, Director of Social Media, also moving up was Andy Jorishie to EVP, Strategy Director. Curtis & Carrie Zimmerman have built a winning team and culture.

Agency of the Year (Independent division): Tombras Group

It’s a family affair in Knoxville, TN at this 60 year-old legacy shop that has completely transformed into the agency that connects data and creativity for business results. Dooley Tombras, the third generation heir leads the charge (more on him in a bit). 2016 wins include Drakes Cakes, Coca-Cola Journey, Clayton Homes and Suntex. Key hires included Nigel Carr as Chief Strategy Officer, Rusty Howard, SVP Director of Social; Al Moffatt, SVP Special Projects and Ty Thornhill, SVP Group Account Director.

MVPGerry Graf, BFG9000

The work is sick good. It’s the place every creative in America wants to work. And the Notre Dame alum is a great guy.

unknown    Rookie of the Year: Dooley Tombras, Tombras Group

Don’t let the “aw shucks” persona fool you, this kid is a killer. Miami Ad School grad via Vanderbilt undergrad, look for this guy to build the next great Southeast agency.


Ad of the Year (heavyweight division): “Got No Strings” Beats by Dr. Dre

Have you seen it? What a spot!

Campaign of the Year (middleweight division): Duluth Trading Company  Men’s Cartoons

I love this stuff. This is what great retail advertising looks like.

Worst Ad of the Year: Duluth Trading Company   Woman’s apparel

Somehow, Duluth Trading Company won the double-whammy: Best and Worst of 2016. This is what pandering to the female outdoor demo looks like.







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