AdAge Small Agency Conference & Awards 2016: Event Recap


On July 19-20th, the Advertising Age Small Agency Conference & Awards 2016 were held in beautiful South Beach, Miami, and immediately upon discovering this, we at DataXu looked to the words of beloved American poet William Smith for inspiration: “We’re going to Miami, Bienvenidos a Miami.” Excited to get to know some of the best and brightest agencies from around the world, and to engage in the ongoing discussion of how to build partnerships that deliver the best work possible, DataXu Account Executives from across the U.S. descended onto Smith’s canonical “city where the heat is on.”    view from the beach

The first arrivals were collectively ambushed by a signature Miami late-afternoon downpour during the cocktail reception on the 1 Hotel beach, providing us all with some common, albeit damp, ground to commiserate over before diving into the presentations the following morning. It was a fittingly naturally-sourced stage-setter (given 1 Hotel’s admirable embrace of all things biodegradable) for the conference’s themes of brining teams together toward a common goal.

a panel at the AdAge Small Agencies Conference

From Jose Molla of The Community’s playful presentation on the things he wished he had known before starting an agency, to Jack Skeels of AgencyAgile’s interactive scales measuring the different components of successful working groups, the power of the team was central to much of the day’s discussion.

A scorecard part of an interactive session at the AdAge Small Agencies Conference

A theme that continued to surface throughout the day, perhaps most directly in the final interview between AdAge’s, Ken Wheaton, and Krispy Kreme’s Creative Director, Martin Davidson, was that of transparency and how it remains an invaluable aspect of successful team and partnership building.

All of these agencies recognized that transparency at all levels, whether that be within their own teams, in working with their clients, or in partnering with technology providers, is essential to creating long lasting relationships that benefit all parties. As representatives of a platform that has long championed transparency at every phase of the programmatic buying process (pricing, optimizations, data, inventory and beyond), it was encouraging for us at DataXu to find ourselves once again on common ground with our (now much drier) fellow attendees.

An outdoor bar at the AdAge Small Agencies Conference

At the awards ceremony, many excellent shops were named winners with Zulu Alpha Kilo out of Toronto taking home the top honors of Small Agency of the Year. Humanaut’s Save The Bros campaign for Organic Valley won Best Integrated Campaign of the Year, and Mexico’s Anonimo won Best International Small Agency. There was a wealth of talent in the room, and if the themes of the conference were any indication, a lot of agencies whom excel at transparency, teamwork, and creating successful partnerships. For all that took home honors, welcome to the winners circle…or as Mr. Smith himself might put it, “beinvenidos” indeed!