A poster in the Ebony+Ivory boardroom states: "It's not small budgets we don't like. It's small minds."
It's 40 years since Paul Middleton Snr founded the full-service advertising agency now run by his son, also Paul Middleton.
It may be small in size compared with some in the industry but there's nothing small about the way it operates. Business has doubled this year and Middleton expects another 25% increase in 2010. Independent industry research by Objectivity rated the agency among SA's top 10 small-medium full-service agencies in 2008 and in the top three this year.
"Full service" means just that. Clients are offered marketing and media strategy, advertising campaigns, media planning and buying, administration and a full creative studio. Ebony's differences, says Middleton, are service and delivery. "To be ready ahead of time, beyond expectation and within budget - this is the goal."
He adds: "We understand the marketing mix and how it all fits together. Our more personable approach helps us understand and connect with the brand and the people behind it. We don't allow our clients to get lost in the mix." Those clients include Continental Tyres, IT company T-Systems, the Industrial Development Corp, Wits University and its business school.
Middleton says: "We could not have done what we have without brilliant clients. They get the business and understand the marketing mix and world. Over the past three years we have restricted who we will work for. We have to have a common vision and philosophies."
As for success, there's no secret: "Do the ordinary things extraordinarily well. It's not rocket science."