By Ad Age Studio 30 . Published on August 20, 2019. (ADAGE REPOST)

Lindsey Slaby, founder of Sunday Dinner, onstage at the Ad Age Small Agency Conference. Credit: Sean T. Smith for Ad Age

Last month at our 10th annual Small Agency Conference & Awards, one idea resonated both onstage and off: the value of saying no, a theme that not only wove its way through the conference but had relevance for a wide variety of shops. Here’s what members of the Amp community had to say about the value of saying no and an example of how saying no ultimately turned into a big win.


Joel Johnson, Co-Founder and Chief Strategist, Admirable Devil

There is a tremendous amount of pressure on ad agencies now to lend our clients a lot of time and money and creativity, and to deliver impactful work that drives ROI. It’s difficult to say no, but it’s important. If the work imperils the business, you’re not doing right by your partners or your staff.

The name of our agency is Admirable Devil. A Catholic charity reached out to do some work with us, and I said, “Hey, do you know what our name is?” So, it didn’t work out. In that case, it was kind of mutual.


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