The CEO of leading independent agency, Atomic 212°’s Jason Dooris, has countered murmurings about the legitimacy of some of the agency’s entries into industry awards.
Atomic 212° was voted Independent Agency Of The Year at last Friday’s B&T Awards and were Agency Of The Year in 2016.
However, the concerns relate to Atomic 212°’s Agency Head of The Year Award that it received from Campaign Asia in 2015/2016.
Although the allegations relating to Atomic 212°’s entry aren’t entirely clear, it’s believed that some of the detail of the entry wasn’t as transparent it could have been and there’s even been suggestions it included work not done by Atomic 212°, a claim Dooris rejects.
In a statement sent to B&T (which you can read in full at the bottom of this article), Dooris said it was “important to address the issue” and he wanted Atomic 212°’s win to be “undisputed and celebrated”.
“We have had claims reported back to us that our award submission contained misleading Information. We refute this,” Dooris said.
“While we are aware that an award submission is always going to be open to interpretation, it was never our intention to be ambiguous. We are gratified that the Campaign Asia team supports this view.
“Some of the claims against us were that we were misleading in regard to billings and that some of the brands included in the submission, who were contacted by our competitors, had not worked with us. This is untrue.
“It is common practice for full-service agencies to enlist specialty third-parties and associates within campaigns. We can verify that those which form part of our submission worked with all the brands listed,” he said.
Dooris’ statement read in full:
Sydney December 7th, 2017
It has come to our attention that there is industry speculation about the validity of the Agency Head of The Year Award we received from Campaign Asia 2015/2016.
As an agency that prides itself on its clients, work, team and reputation, it is important to address this issue. We want any award won by Atomic 212° to be undisputed and celebrated.
We have had claims reported back to us that our award submission contained misleading Information. We refute this.
While we are aware that an award submission is always going to be open to interpretation, it was never our intention to be ambiguous. We are gratified that the Campaign Asia team supports this view.
As a new type of agency that combines creative, media, data, technology and many other emerging services under one roof and business, there is a challenge determining where we fit into many awards programs. In competing in awards events, we always seek to find common metrics and values that allow achievements or client value to be compared across service lines. This is no easy task.
After questions were raised, we set about reviewing individual awards from the perspective of the lowest baseline; are our submissions clear and obvious enough? Is the context sufficient to tell the full story we need to tell? Can the juror distinguish between creative achievements, media achievements or technology service and software sales achievements? Does any lack of clarity around these distinctions cloud a jurors’ ability to make accurate comparisons between an Atomic 212° submission and that of another organisation?
As part of this process and review, we identified areas in our submissions which may be of concern to non-full-service agency competitors and immediately contacted Campaign Asia 2016. On Tuesday December 5th, Campaign Asia reviewed the award, this time accompanied by additional and comprehensive providence.
On consideration and full review of the facts, Campaign Asia advised that the award should stand and, after assessment of our entry, it was comfortable we met the submission criteria.
Some of the claims against us were that we were misleading in regard to billings and that some of the brands included in the submission, who were contacted by our competitors, had not worked with us. This is untrue.
It is common practice for full-service agencies to enlist specialty third-parties and associates within campaigns. We can verify that those which form part of our submission worked with all the brands listed.
As we work across many different service lines, disciplines and media channels, it is highly possible that we may be working with client personnel who do not have a media role. Disputed clients mentioned in our submission, whom we have contacted, are prepared to support and validate our work with them.
It is also usual practice for the lead agency to claim the client in its billings.
There was also speculation about a claim in our submission that Stuart Mitchell was Chairman of Atomic 212°. I seek to clarify that Mr Mitchell was a consultant to our Chairman, Barry O’Brien and our Board.
As CEO of Atomic 212°, it is my personal responsibility to ensure the highest standards exist in award submissions at all times. Final approval and review rests with me and I am committed to ensuring our standards are high and consistent now and in future.
Barry O’Brien, Chairman of Atomic 212° said: “I appreciate that some of our competitors may feel parts of our submission are a stretch, however, having worked closely with Campaign Asia, I am satisfied as Chairman, that the evidence of our work and the clients we have done work for, backs up that submission.”
We are exceptionally proud of our people, our clients and our relationships and thank all our clients, who are supporting us over this issue.