A Non-Traditional Shift

Through out the past ten years, the advertising industry has seen a changing dynamic in the top performers in Minneapolis.  Newer agencies have developed and utilized a new method of integrated services for clients and are continuing to strengthen their innovative and creative muscles.

Non-traditional agency models have begun to provide new competition for the most well known Minneapolis agencies including Fallon and Campbell Mithun.  Some larger agencies have experienced a slight decline in revenue over the past five years, while Periscope’s revenue increased by a dramatic 40% within the past year.   A relatively young agency, Periscope was started in 1994 and grew by combining a creative agency with a printing company.   In 2009, Periscope won 29 awards at The Show sponsored by our own parent organization, The Advertising Federation of Minnesota.

Periscope is not the only fast growing agency, Mono, a multi-faceted agency, has taken on projects from Apple, USA network, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.   From their powerful strategy to their simplistic attitude toward the industry, Mono has created inspiring work from their agency.   They were chosen as Creativity Online’s Pick of the Day and Top 5 of the week, along with Fox News creating a viral buzz about their Blue Cross Blue Shield campaign.  This powerful campaign also earned them, AdAges 2010 Small Agency of the Year Award.

Pocket Hercules is also a relatively new agency, started in 2005, earned the “Midwestern Small Agency of the Year Award” in 2009 by AdAge.  BrandLab is another small agency that has also generated a unique diversity program that sets Minneapolis apart from other larger advertising cities.   This program allows students in low-income high schools the chance to work in the creative industry.   They provide a unique experience for students who have potential, but just need this resource to dive into the industry.

Just to name a few more of the smaller successful agencies:

Marketing Lab

Brave New media

Kuscopf Coontz

Preston Kelly

Modern Climate (AdAge’s small ad agency of the year)

Smaller agencies have numerous benefits to provide a client. President of Minnetonka-based Rapala USA, Tom Mackin, said he likes working with a smaller agency because of the closeness that comes with it.  The advantages of small agencies are that there are less people to manage an account, more personal interaction, and a lower price tag.

Although Minneapolis has been known for its larger advertising agencies, there are many opportunities for smaller agencies to compete and thrive in an ever-changing market.  These new, smaller agencies are gaining plenty of recognition while at the same time revamping the industry with inventive strategies.    With so much talent around the Twin Cities, it is exciting to see a large amount of innovation being produced from even a small agency.  Maybe the statement: “bigger is better”, needs some rethinking.  Is small the new big?

-Written by: Elizabeth Nelson

Brand Ambassador

Junior at UW-River Falls

Major: Marketing Communications

To check out where I got some information and read more about this topic you can take a look at the articles listed below.

Work from Mono

Minneapolis: The Midwestern City That’s a Marketing Overachiever – Adage

New Creative Order Emerges in Minneapolis – Adage

Small Ad Agencies Go Over Big – Star Tribune

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