The Agency S
Finding the right agency is about more than
who has the best creative BY DOUGLAS QUENQUA
It can be hard to know if you’ve hired the right agency.
But hire the wrong one and you’ll figure it out fast.
Just ask Diane Gibbons, director of U.S. marketing operations at Pfizer.
Several years ago, Pfizer had a new brand that needed to be advertised. So the
marketing team for the brand held a large-scale creative shootout, the kind that
has since fallen out of favor at the pharmaceutical giant.
They invited a handful of agencies to show off their work, and based their
decision primarily on that. “What happened was they weren’t looking at the
underlying strategy,” Gibbons says, “and they picked the winner based on the
creative they liked the best.”
Unfortunately, the marketing team soon learned a lesson: even the finest
creative gets you only so far.
“The team started working with that agency and found that they didn’t have
the strategy to help Pfizer do anything else,” Gibbons says. “They were really