The New York-based business has shaken up the ad world since opening its doors in 2006: creating some genre-bending work, being named as one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies and amassing a shedload of accolades.
At Cannes 2011, Droga5 won three Grands Prix, including for the stunningly multichannel Jay-Z Decoded campaign, which hid all 320 pages of the rapper’s autobiography in outdoor locations – such as at the bottom of a swimming pool in Miami. The following year, the shop won a Grand Prix for helping to develop an adhesive bandage that would save lives.
Droga5 is that most modern of creative agencies: one that conceives business-shifting ideas way beyond the boundaries of traditional ad formats. But what struck an important chord for me was the founder Dave Droga’s justification for the UK office: "London is, pound for pound, the most creative market in the world."
After years of recession, which have led to an under-confident British advertising industry, this is something too often ignored by business and the political world.
An analysis of The Gunn Report data since 1999 reveals that the UK is the second-most-awarded country in the world for creative awards (behind the US). But if one recalculates this for Gunn points per million of population, Britain tops the chart. According to Warc, the UK is only the 22nd-largest advertising market by population, but is the fifth-biggest by adspend.
And if one views these stats in the context of Deloitte’s recent calculation that each £1 of adspend returns £6 to GDP, it completes a picture of London (in particular) as a global creative powerhouse and an efficient driver of economic growth.
One can see why a fast-growth creative business such as Droga5 covets a European hub here
In these terms, the UK advertising market, which already comprises dozens of outstanding creative agencies, suddenly looks less oversupplied. And one can see why a fast-growth creative business such as Droga5 covets a European hub here.
Big business can play its part in this British success story by continuing to make brave investment in building brands. Politicians can contribute by creating an environment where enterprise can flourish, where rents are low and where young talent is nurtured. But the ad industry must also play its part by better explaining the contribution of creativity to business – and, above all, by being optimistic.
So let’s wish Droga5 London well, along with all the other entrepreneurial creative businesses that drive this country forward, in spite of the economic mistral blowing in the opposite direction.