Dallas-based Richards Group is almost certainly the world's biggest single-owner ad agency. Although founder Stan Richards controls 100% of the equity of the full-service shop, it has for many years operated an unconventional open-door policy in which there are no departmental divisions among staff and no one (except the CFO) has a private office. Another rule that breaks with the industry standard is that Richards traditionally declines to defend reviews of client accounts. Clients either choose to stay or choose to go, and the agency prefers not to get involved in competition for the business. In 2007 it overtook Doner to become America's largest independent agency by revenues, and maintained that position until 2016 (when it was finally overtaken by Wieden & Kennedy). Advertising Age estimated revenues of $195m for 2017. Despite the widespread consolidation within the industry, the agency says it is definitely not for sale, "not now, not ever". The agency is run by a group of principals, headed by Stan Richards, who turned 85 in 2017. After he departs, ownership will transfer to a non-profit foundation. Glenn Dady, Gary Gibson and Mike Malone comprise the leadership council, with Scot Dykema as de facto CFO. However, none of the staff has a specific title although they do have particular areas of responsibility.
Capsule checked 2nd December 2018
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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Social Media 8th Aug 2018: We recently featured a picturesque spot here from Land Rover filmed in the Himalayas. Now global rival Jeep sees Land Rover and raises the stakes about 1,000 times with this astonishing new film from US agency The Richards Group and director Mark Toia. Part ad, part travelogue, Toia clearly scoured India for every one of its most visually impressive aspects, and then condensed them into a single film. Obviously this is the director's cut, so he has allowed himself carte blanche on the edit, but who can blame him when he has footage like this to choose from. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Nov 2016: Ads Of The Week: "Praise". Richards Group offers this clearly heartfelt paean to blue collar America for Fiat Chrysler's Ram Trucks brand, not just to mark Thanksgiving, but also recognising the struggles of the ordinary working man and woman, an issue which has once again risen to the top of the agenda in the wake of the election. It's not the first time Richards and Ram have delivered such a powerful celebration of hard work. This is a fitting successor to their similarly poetic Farmer spot from 2013. Fine work indeed. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Jul 2016: Fast food chain Chick-Fil-A - now America's top chicken restaurant ahead of KFC - called time on a 22-year relationship with creative agency The Richards Group. Instead it has appointed McCann New York as its new lead agency, with project-based support from start-up boutique Erich & Kallman, run by Steve Erich (ex-CP&B) and Eric Kallman (ex-Goodby Silverstein).
Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Apr 2015: Ads Of The Week: "Courage Is Already Inside". Chrysler's Ram Trucks division targets female buyers with an excellent new campaign from Richards Group, beautifully photographed and wholly inspirational. Looks like we're beginning to see a real breakthrough this year in the depiction of women consumers by the ad industry with a succession of these mould-breaking, stereotype-defying spots.
Adbrands Weekly Update 12th Jun 2014: Ads Of The Week: "Born Makers". Chrysler - or rather, FiatChrysler, as it is now - consistently offers the best advertising of America's three major auto manufacturers, and here's another fine example from house agency Richards Group. It may not have the star power of previous Chrysler ads (Eastwood, Eminem, Bob Dylan) but that excellent underlying campaign concept, positioning Chrysler as "America's Import", more than carries the load. And not a soccer ball in sight.
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