My pick of 2012: Wieden+Kennedy London, Tesco (sort of) and Neil Christie

Adscam/The Horror! author and all-round advertising legend George Parker, author of Confessions of a Mad Man among other seminal business school tomes, chooses his agency(ies) of the year, ad/campaign (sort of) and person of the year.

I must say, I was stunned when Stephen ask me to join with him and such ad luminaries and ranters as Paul Simons, Giles Keeble and Jerry “mine’s a large G&T, ta very much” Judge, in choosing what we would consider to be worthy of anointing with the MAA pointy crown of thorns as the “Agency of the Year.” It wasn’t until I was nearly through my first bottle of Teton Glacier, Idaho’s finest potato vodka; that it struck me I should first of all establish a few basic, pre-judging ground rules.

1/I refuse to vote for any British agency that’s been thrown together in the last year, ‘cos that would be about two hundred, and I’m too old to keep track of the spin-offs of the spin-offs. I will also not vote for an agency with a stupid fucked up name. I mean why an agency would call itself “The Bank” is beyond me. As for “Steak”, or “Farm,” and the mother of them all… “Mother.” Just who the hell are these people trying to impress?

2/ Foreign agencies that speak foreign languages, yet all their entries at Cannes are in English, are definitely not worth my valuable non-drinking time. This is particularly true of Brazilian agencies. Although, when you consider that most of their entries never actually appeared anywhere, maybe I’m being a little harsh. No, fuck ‘em. They’re out.

3/Because of my advanced age, I find it harder and harder to be specific (The Teton Glacier may also be a factor) So, I am claiming a droit de seigneur in my selection. I’m going to choose three. Yes, I know it’s against Stephen’s rules, but he, along with Paul, Giles and Jerry can overrule me and make their own wanky suggestions. So here goes…

Goodby Silverstein+Partners

Yes, I know they’ve been around forever, But I defy you to point to any other agency that has come up with such a matchless body of work for such a variety of clients over a TWENTY SEVEN fucking year history. Yes, they’ve done their fair share of clunkers… Not as extreme as W+K’s (Portland… That’s important. Pay attention.) Velveeta blacksmith rogering housewives with his hot ‘Cheesy Skillet.’ Or, God forbid, CP+B’s back from the dead, Orville Deadenbacher.. But hey, I can put up with a modicum of mediocrity, as long as they continue to defy dear old dead Jay’s immortal observation… “I can’t wait to see how big we get before we turn to shit.” God bless ‘em GS+P are still fighting off the snot-gobbling barbarians.


Ha… Yes, I know, in spite of my earlier protestations, the agency name comes from his Mum’s laundry tag for his underpants. But, most of it is in fact, his real name. And, Dave, along with his lusty cohorts Ted Royer and Andrew Essex, in a mere six years or so, have built a shaggerific, throbbing, on the verge of exploding empire… Yes, we shall choose to ignore that early disastrous venture, ‘HoneyShed.’

But, like I said previously, everyone is allowed a few clunkers, and at least these guys attempted to break the mold. I have a sneaky feeling they will possibly drop dead whilst continuing trying to do this. Or at least, Dave will have a mental breakdown after sitting on 365 award juries every year. But, God bless ‘em, in common with all three of my finalists, Droga5 is a true “advertising” agency which refuses to be measured and pigeonholed by today’s increasingly pathetic standards…

Wieden+Kennedy LONDON

Please, please, note that now the Teton Glacier bottle is empty, I have decided to plump for these guys as my number one choice as agency of the year. I had decided that even if you put my nuts in a vice and continued turning the screw thingy, and even if you threatened to erase AdScam’s entire collection of naked Kate Moss pictures, I was not going to name a single shop! But, I changed my mind.

OK… OK… And it’s not just that Neil Christie (W+K London boss) gets me pissed every time I am in London… These guys do sensational work… Yeah… They also have a great working environment… Yeah… They also have the world’s best fucking agency blog… Yeah… Ruby Tuesday hangs out there… But yeah… Fucking Yeah… They are the epitome of what this business used to be all about when I first got into it a few hundred years ago… And which, unfortunately, it no longer is.

And as long as Dan keeps his promise never to sell out to the likes of the Poisoned Dwarf, these guys will keep the flame alight. That’s why they pulled ahead in the home stretch. God, I need a drink after that.

Neil Christie

Obviously, ‘cos he gets me pissed at W+K’s expense.

Tesco (2013 version)

The stuff W+K will be doing for Tesco NEXT YEAR… I can see it now… “Buy two baked beans… Get one free.” Yes guys… Advertising the way it used to be… Although, I fully expect it will be done with the usual W+K panache.


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  1. George – it’s a pleasure and an honour. I’d like to thank the Academy on behalf of myself, the agency and my mum.

    I guess this means I owe you a drink or three in The Golden Heart next time you’re over in London.

  2. Neil….
    I was trying to remember the name of the W+K pub… The Golden Heart. Perfect. Don’t send me the check. Deposit it directly in my Zurich account. The one next to the Poisoned Dwarf’s. Truly… “Life is great in advertising land.” And don’t forget, you promised to get “Confessions of a Mad Man” on display at every Tesco checkout.