April 19, 2023

What to Know About the Ad Age Small Agency Awards

Loring Weisenberger
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For decades, the Ad Age Awards have celebrated the best of the best in advertising. While the largest agencies certainly get their share of the spotlight, Ad Age also makes a point of celebrating the little guys. 

The Ad Age Small Agency Awards honor small, independent agencies that are making big noise. 

In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Ad Age Small Agency Awards 2023. We’ll talk about what the Ad Age Awards are, why they’re important, and how you can submit your own agency to compete at the Small Agency Awards 2023.

What is Ad Age?

Formerly known as “Advertising Age”, Ad Age is a global media brand dedicated to all things marketing and media. Ad Age deploys news, analysis, and data science to create a critical resource for professionals operating in and around the advertising industry. 

If you’re looking for the skinny on the best Super Bowl commercials or the state of branded content, you can trust Ad Age to give you accurate industry insight. 

Ad Age got its start back in 1930 as a broadsheet newspaper but has since expanded into multiple formats. Today, Ad Age is active through a website, print magazine, email newsletters, social channels, and even live events.

Ad Age describes itself as 

"A global media brand focusing on curated creativity, data and analysis, people and culture, and innovation and forecasting.” 

The brand is uniquely positioned in the advertising industry. It’s close enough to provide an insider’s point-of-view but separate enough to observe critically. This combination of respectability and neutrality makes Ad Age a natural choice for identifying greatness among ad industry peers. 

That’s why they created the Ad Age Awards.

What are the Ad Age Awards?

The Ad Age Awards are a series of annual awards competitions that honor the best that the marketing and media industries have to offer. The Ad Age Awards seek to look beyond the realms of agencies and campaigns to recognize the full spectrum of creative work that fuels modern advertising. 

In pursuit of this goal, Ad Age has expanded their initial awards celebration into separate collections, each with their own unique goals and criteria. As of 2023, the Ad Age Awards exist under three distinct umbrellas: Ad Age Small Agency Awards, Ad Age A-List Awards, and Ad Age Creativity Awards.

Let’s look at each of them in turn. 

What are the Ad Age Small Agency Awards?

The Ad Age Small Agency Awards celebrates small, independent agencies who have showcased high performance in the past year. These are the underdogs who have proven that they can defy the odds by doing more with less. 

The Small Agency Awards honors those agencies that have deployed ingenuity and agility to compete with - and win against - much larger rivals. 2022’s awardees included innovators like Mojo Supermarket and Movers+Shakers.

Ad Age states that the Small Agency Awards are looking for excellence in three important areas: 

“Creating amazing and effective work for clients, building a financially healthy business and cultivating a diverse and rewarding environment for employees.”

 For Ad Age, it’s not just about the work. Culture and execution matter just as much as the creative product.

If your advertising or creative agency employs 150 or fewer people, you might be eligible for a Small Agency Award. In fact, the awards break down into three subsequent size categories: 

  • 1-10 staffers 
  • 11-75 staffers 
  • 76-150 staffers. 

According to the Ad Age Small Agency Award FAQ, 

“[A]ll disciplines are welcome, including full-service ad agencies as well as design, digital, direct, media, mobile and promo agencies, or combinations thereof.” 

As long as size and ownership requirements are met, any agency is free to apply. 

How do I enter the Ad Age Small Agency Awards 2023?

To enter the 2023 Small Agency Awards, you’ll need to first register for a free Ad Age account. After that, all you need to do is fill out a simple submission form

The Small Agency Awards 2023 submission process requires that you provide some basic information. To ensure speed and ease, it’s recommended that you prepare the following items in advance:

  • Agency name
  • Agency size (number of employees)
  • Agency revenue (for 2021, 2022, and projections for 2023)
  • Contact information (address, emails, etc.)
  • Campaign samples (campaign description and relevant media files totaling less than 2GB in size)

Any information that you provide to Ad Age should be publishable by the time the awards are announced in July 2023. To ensure compliance with this policy, any information labeled “not for public” or “off the record” will not be factored into the evaluation process. 

Ad Age emphasizes that what always counts most is

“... Your creative product, your strategic thinking, your outcomes for clients and your responsiveness to your employees.”

They’re looking for tangible signs of those intangible qualities that elevate even the smallest organization.

For more information on the submission process, check out the Small Agency Awards 2023 FAQ.

Ad Age Small Agency Awards 2023 Categories

The Ad Age Awards honor agencies and creatives for a variety of achievements. New Ad Age Awards categories are added or altered every year to better match the evolving state of the industry. 

The 2023 Small Agency Awards will celebrate awardees in the following categories:

  • Agency of the Year: Overall
  • Agency of the Year: by Size
  • Agency of the Year: Regional
  • Agency of the Year: International
  • Design Agency of the Year
  • Media Agency of the Year
  • Newcomer Agency of the Year
  • PR Agency of the Year
  • Purpose-Led Agency of the Year
  • Campaign of the Year: B2B
  • Campaign of the Year: Digital
  • Campaign of the Year: Experiential
  • Campaign of the Year: Health Care
  • Campaign of the Year: Integrated
  • Campaign of the Year: Media
  • Campaign of the Year: Pro Bono
  • Best Agency Culture
  • Executive of the Year
  • Account Manager of the Year
  • Creative of the Year
  • Media Planner of the Year
  • Strategic Planner of the Year

Click here to check out full descriptions of the Small Agency Awards categories for 2023. 

Wrapping Up

The Small Agency Awards are a vision of the advertising industry’s best self. 

Whether you’ve figured out how to make the perfect car commercial or demonstrated excellence in effective client communication, the Ad Age Awards want to honor you and your work. 

If your agency employs less than 150 people, enter the Ad Age Small Agency Awards 2023 today. Submissions close on April 26, 2023, at 5:00 pm EDT. 

Last Updated 
April 19, 2023


At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
Loring Weisenberger

Loring is a Los Angeles-based writer, director, and creative producer. His work has been commissioned by a diverse range of clients- from Havas Worldwide to Wisecrack, inc.- and has been screened around the world. Through a background that blends project development with physical production across multiple formats, Loring has developed a uniquely eclectic skillset as a visual storyteller.

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