Advertising Week Called Out Agencies by Name in 6 Cities Ahead of This Week’s Event

Barker billboards urge ad people to 'change the conversation'

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Can the advertising industry "change the conversation" to things that really matter, like gender, diversity, client/agency distrust, transparency and more? Advertising Week made that the theme of the ad campaign for this year's New York event—and called out agencies by name with digital billboards all around the country, placed near those shops and urging them to join the movement.

The campaign, created by New York agency Barker, features lines like "Let's Change the Conversation," Let's Influence the Influencer," "Smarter in a New York Minute," Know What Your Clients Are Kvetching About," "Invest 1 Week in the 51 Others" and "Let's Make Shit Matter."

The targeted billboards—a total of 44 placements in all—were placed in six cities near large agencies such as BBDO, Havas, The Richards Group, PHD and others. Many, including Colle+McVoy in Minneapolis, responded to the provocation with their own posts in social media.

"The problems we face in our industry are a perfect microcosm of whats happening in our nation and the world. And Advertising Week is the forum where these issues can be part of the conversation," John Barker, founder and chief idea officer at Barker, tells Adweek.

"What makes this the leading conference in the business is that it's much more than people fawning over the latest media tech. It's people bravely addressing the issues that all of us face—a lack of minority voices; fair, respectful and progressive advancement of women; the ongoing issue of transparency with our clients; and the seismic changes happening in the cultural zeitgeist of America and the world. That's why Barker developed #changetheconversation as the rallying cry for this year's Advertising Week."

See more creative executions below. 

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.