Boutique Agency Focus of National Attention
Is Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, California, the next Crispin, Porter & Bogusky? The latter is the Miami-based ad agency that has reigned as the industry's hottest creative shop for the past few years. But the former is a relatively unknown agency that may be on the verge of receiving nationwide attention after capturing the coveted BMW Mini ad account. The agency is one of a new generation of boutique shops poised to make a splash in 2006 as major marketers increasingly hire smaller shops. Companies like as Coca-Cola, Unilever and Procter & Gamble have shown they are no longer beholden to hiring global ad firms with dozens and dozens of offices around the world.
"This may actually be the era of independent agencies," says Jim McDowell, vice president of Mini USA. A growing number of marketers believe small independents can offer ad approaches that don't depend so heavily on TV ads. Some see smaller firms as being better equipped to react to a rapidly changing media landscape because bureaucracy and the potential conflicts that abound in conglomerates don't bog them down.