I just read this article in Campaign that really made me think about the small agency versus big agency creative mentality. And I agree with the author:
Big agencies are bleeding creativity.
Frustrated by a “vendor procurement” client mentality, disappointed by a lack of support from corporate management for innovation, burdened by constant pressure to test, test again and re-test, and plagued by a longing to “do something that matters,” creatives are flocking to start-ups and upstart brands’ in-house creative groups. It’s created the perfect storm for big agency mediocrity.
Luckily, there are smaller agencies out there that have gotten the message: that it’s their message that counts. When a company has a purpose—one that’s bigger than just making a profit—the bleeding can be stemmed, and it can attract great thinking.
There are agencies that actually have a purpose, like working to market American manufacturing, prototyping social platforms to make a difference in the lives of others, creating great work for even greater causes, then using a portion of what they make to build schools, provide clean drinking water and support underdeveloped communities.
The mission doesn’t always have to be totally altruistic, either. If an agency like Argonaut declares that it wants clients “who want to make history, not repeat it,” then the creators and thinkers out there know it’s probably a good place to be. When creativity becomes a goal and not just a service line, it infuses a place with energy and makes everyone—everyone—more willing to do things a little differently.
Big agencies are, by definition, big. They’re run by layers upon layers of managers, creative directors, bean counters and, too often, buzz-killers. They’re owned by big companies and thousands of shareholders. Trying to get a singular vision from so many is nearly impossible.
That’s why a better bet for a real creative environment is a smaller agency, where fulfilling a vision is not only possible, it’s already happening.