In 2014, MediaPost named The Media Kitchen our "Search (Programmatic) Agency of the Year," our first ever recognition for that category, largely because it did away with a siloed way of thinking about media. By fusing its search and programmatic practices under one integrated view of a "biddable media" marketplace, TMK hit all our core criteria -- vision, innovation and leadership -- simply by seeing and implementing a better way. In a similar way, we are recognizing TMK as our "Mobile Agency of the Year" for 2016, not because of what it did to treat mobile as a standalone media …
At a time when big brands and agencies have been struggling to adapt to the declining efficacy of television advertising, BBDO reinvented itself as a "video" agency and shifted its focus from broadcast and cable to the world's biggest social media platform -- Facebook. The strategy was built on a key insight that while Facebook's overall reach continues to expand, the relative effectiveness of "organic" reach for big brands as been diminishing proportionately.
While the use of ad blockers has been reaching a critical mass for years, no supplier has become more associated with the phenomenon on Madison Avenue than Adblock Plus. That's partly because it's penetrated the most deeply into the marketplace to become the best known ad-blocking application - but also because it has been leveraging that position to create a new gatekeeping paradigm in the ad marketplace.
Martin Cass may joke about being mistaken for that other Martin -- Sorrell -- but he's actually CEO of Assembly and MDC Media Partners, the media agency umbrella group responsible for expanding MDC's media business from 4% to 14% of its total revenue in a little more than two years. This growth marks an appropriate milestone and a perfect time to name Cass MediaPost's Media Agency Executive of the Year.
What sets Hearts & Science apart is its ability to pair human insights and creativity with data -- not just machine-to-machine, data-driven audience acquisition. At its core, the agency focuses on connections between data and emotion. It combines data-driven media planning and buying practices with what CEO Scott Hagedorn calls "orchestrated" content creation, delivery and optimization.
It was a great accomplishment for Acronym to get a patent for a mapping system in secure search -- a feat that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office called "impossible." But it takes more than technology to earn the distinction of MediaPost Agency of the Year for search. It takes the courage and the ability to offer brands an innovative business model.
John Moore, global president, MullenLowe Mediahub, said in a recent interview that "my favorite media is inventing it. Media is everywhere and only limited by your imagination." In 2016, MullenLowe Mediahub, which is MediaPost's Creative Agency of the Year, did an extraordinary job of inventing media, highlighted by a campaign it developed for the Netflix program "Black Mirror."
There had been augmented-reality games before. Even Niantic, the Google-spun-off company behind Pokemon Go, had created their own game, Ingress, in 2012, that also melded the real world with an enhanced one. But it was Pokemon Go that caught on. Two months after its release, the game had been installed 500 million times.
Selecting a Media Agency of the Year isn't always clear for the editors of this trade publication. Often, it is like picking a needle out of a haystack, sorting through scores of rationales, case studies, arguments and lots and lots of sizzle. Sometimes it is completely transparent. 2016 was clearly the latter. In fact, the year began and ended with it, literally, at least as far as the nation's biggest advertisers were concerned.