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An advertising agency, often referred to as a creative agency or an ad agency, is a business dedicated to creating, planning, and handling advertising and sometimes other forms of promotion and marketing for its clients. An ad agency is generally independent from the client; it may be an internal department or agency that provides an outside point of view to the effort of selling the client's products or services, or an outside firm. An agency can also handle overall marketing and branding strategies promotions for its clients, which may include sales as well.
Typical ad agency clients include businesses and corporations, non-profit organizations and private agencies. Agencies may be hired to produce television advertisements, radio advertisements, online advertising, out-of-home advertising, mobile marketing, and AR advertising, as part of an advertising campaign.
The first acknowledged advertising agency was William Taylor in 1786. Another early agency, started by James 'Jem' White in 1800 at Fleet Street, London, eventually evolved into White Bull Holmes, a recruitment advertising agency, that went out of business in the late 1980s.In 1812 George Reynell, an officer at the London Gazette , set up another of the early advertising agencies, also in London. This remained a family business until 1993, as 'Reynell & Son,' and is now part of the TMP Worldwide agency (UK and Ireland) under the brand TMP Reynell. Another early agency that traded until recently, was founded by Charles Barker, and the firm he established traded as 'Barkers' until 2009 when it went into Administration.
Volney B. Palmer opened the first American advertising agency, in Philadelphia in 1850. This agency placed ads produced by its clients in various newspapers.
In 1856 Mathew Brady created the first modern advertisement when he placed an ad in the New York Herald paper offering to produce "photographs, ambrotypes, and daguerreotypes." His ads were the first whose typeface and fonts were distinct from the text of the publication and from that of other advertisements. At that time all newspaper ads were set in agate and only agate. His use of larger distinctive fonts caused a sensation.Later that same year Robert E. Bonner ran the first full-page ad in a newspaper.
In 1864, William James Carlton began selling advertising space in religious magazines. In 1869, Francis Ayer, at the age of 20, created the first full-service advertising agency in Philadelphia, called N.W. Ayer & Son. It was the oldest advertising agency in America and dissolved in 2002. James Walter Thompson joined Carlton's firm in 1868. Thompson rapidly became their best salesman, purchasing the company in 1877 and renaming it the James Walter Thompson Company. Realizing that he could sell more space if the company provided the service of developing content for advertisers, Thompson hired writers and artists to form the first known Creative Department in an advertising agency. He is credited as the "father of modern magazine advertising" in the US.Advertising Age commemorated the first 100 years of the agency in 1964, noting that its "history and expansion overseas seems peculiarly to match the whole history of modern advertising."
Globalization of advertising originates in earlier days of the twentieth century. American advertising agencies began as the process of opening overseas offices before the two World Wars and accelerated their globalization throughout the latter part of the twentieth century.
McCann, an agency established in New York City in 1902, opened its first European offices by 1927. It was followed up with offices opening in South America in 1935 and in Australia in 1959.
Companies such as J. Walter Thompson adopted a strategy to expand in order to provide the advertising services wherever clients operated.
In the 1960s and 1970s, English agencies began to realize the overseas opportunities associated with globalization.Expanding overseas gives potential to wider markets.
Studies show that successful advertising agencies tend to have a shared sense of purpose with their clients through collaboration. This includes a common set of client objectives where agencies feel a shared sense of ownership of the strategic process. Successful advertisements start with clients building a good relationship with the agencies and work together to figure out what their objectives are. Clients must trust the agencies to do their jobs correctly and accordingly with the resources they have provided. Breakdowns in relationships were more likely to occur when agencies felt undermined, subjugated or even feel they don't have an equal status. Traditionally advertising agencies tend to be in a position to take the lead on projectsbut results are best when there is a more collaborative relationship.
Stronger collaboration happens in situations where a personal chemistry has been established between both parties. Finding out similar likes and dislikes, points of view and even hobbies and passions. Personal chemistry builds with the length of the client relationship, frequency of meetings, and how far mutual respect goes between parties. This was one trait that advertising agencies were perceived to not always have. It was suggested that on occasions media planners and researchers were more closely involved in the project because of their personal relationships with their clients.Successful strategic planning is best when both parties are involved due to the bond between sides by understanding each other's views and mindset.
Involved advertising account planners are seen to contribute towards successful agency client collaboration. Planners of advertising agencies tend to be capable of creating a very powerful, trusting relationship with their clients because they were seen as intellectual prowess, seniority and have empathy in the creative process.
All advertising agencies are called that because they are acting as agents for their principals which were the media. They were then, and are now, paid by the media to sell advertising space to clients. Originally, in the 18th century, and the first half of the 19th, advertising agencies made all of their income from commissions paid by the media for selling space to the client
Although it is still the case that the majority of their income comes from the media, in the middle of the 19th century, agencies began to offer additional services which they sold directly to the client. Such services can include writing the text of the advertisement.
Use of creativity by agencies is "unexpected" because so much advertising today is expected. This will capture the attention of audiences, therefore the message is more likely to get through. There have been many advertisements that have surprised audiences because it was not normal for them to see that in an advertisement of that nature. The best use of creativity is when the agencies make consumers think about the product or brand. The type of creativity is distinctive communication which is breaking through the clutter.
The five largest agencies, with their estimated worldwide revenues in 2014:
This is a list of notable advertising agencies and holding companies for advertising agencies, with their headquarters' cities indicated.
Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea. Sponsors of advertising are typically businesses wishing to promote their products or services. Advertising is differentiated from public relations in that an advertiser pays for and has control over the message. It differs from personal selling in that the message is non-personal, i.e., not directed to a particular individual. Advertising is communicated through various mass media, including traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor advertising or direct mail; and new media such as search results, blogs, social media, websites or text messages. The actual presentation of the message in a medium is referred to as an advertisement: advert or ad for short.
Saatchi & Saatchi is a British multinational communications and advertising agency network with 114 offices in 76 countries and over 6,500 staff. It was founded in 1970 and is currently headquartered in London. The parent company of the agency group was known as Saatchi & Saatchi PLC from 1976 to 1994, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange until 2000 and, for a time, was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. In 2000, the group was acquired by the Publicis Groupe. In 2005 it went private.
Omnicom Group Inc. is an American global media, marketing and corporate communications holding company, headquartered in New York City.
WPP plc is a British multinational communications, advertising, public relations, technology, and commerce holding company headquartered in London, England. It is considered the world's largest advertising company, as of 2019. WPP plc owns many companies, which includes advertising, public relations, media, and market research networks such as AKQA, BCW, Essence Global, Finsbury, Grey, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Mindshare, Ogilvy, Wavemaker, Wunderman Thompson, and VMLY&R. It is one of the "Big Four" agency companies, alongside Publicis, Interpublic Group of Companies and Omnicom. WPP has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers bid to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users. It can place ads both in the results of search engines like Google Search and on non-search websites, mobile apps, and videos. Services are offered under a pay-per-click (PPC) pricing model.
DDB Worldwide Communications Group LLC, known internationally as DDB, is a worldwide marketing communications network. It is owned by Omnicom Group, one of the world's largest advertising holding companies. The international advertising networks Doyle Dane Bernbach and Needham Harper merged their worldwide agency operations to become DDB Needham in 1986. At that same time the owners of Doyle Dane Bernbach, Needham Harper and BBDO merged their shareholdings to form the US listed holding company Omnicom. In 1996, DDB Needham became known as DDB Worldwide.
Ogilvy is a New York City-based British advertising, marketing, and public relations agency. It was founded in 1850 by Edmund Mather as a London-based agency. In 1964, the firm became known as Ogilvy & Mather after merging with a New York City agency that was founded in 1948 by David Ogilvy. The agency is now part of the WPP Group, one of the largest advertising and public relations companies in the world. The company provides services in six areas: brand strategy, advertising, customer engagement and commerce, public relations and influence, digital transformation, and partnerships. The company's strategy division OgilvyRED became Ogilvy Consulting.
J. Walter Thompson (JWT) was an advertisement holding company incorporated in 1896 by American advertising pioneer James Walter Thompson. The company was acquired in 1987 by multinational holding company WPP plc, and in November 2018, WPP merged J. Walter Thompson with fellow agency Wunderman to form Wunderman Thompson.
The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (IPG) is an American publicly traded advertising company. The company consists of five major networks: FCB, IPG Mediabrands, McCann Worldgroup, MullenLowe Group, and Marketing Specialists, as well as a number of independent specialty agencies in the areas of public relations, sports marketing, talent representation, and healthcare. It is one of the "Big Four" agency companies, alongside WPP, Publicis and Omnicom. Phillippe Krakowsky became the company's CEO on January 1, 2021.
Grey Group is an American global advertising and marketing agency with headquarters in New York City, and 432 offices in 96 countries, operating in 154 cities. It is organized into four geographical units: North America; Europe, Middle East & Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) is a British global advertising agency. Founded in 1982 by British ad men John Bartle, Nigel Bogle, and John Hegarty, BBH has offices in London, New York City, Singapore, Shanghai, Mumbai, Stockholm and Los Angeles and employs more than 1,000 staff worldwide. The company is part of international agency group Publicis. In 2018 BBH was named the IPA Effectiveness Company of the Year.
Wieden+Kennedy is an independent American advertising agency best known for its work for Nike. Founded by Dan Wieden and David Kennedy, and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, it is one of the largest independently owned advertising agencies in the world.
Account planning brings the focus on the consumer into the process of developing advertising. Planning is a job function relating to the application of strategy and planning. The discipline and its tools and techniques help to build unique directions, propositions and communications concepts across advertising and marketing channels. The Account Planner, or simply Planner, has a role to identify and empathise with the target market and utilise multiple types of data to unlock insight that creates value between the consumer, the brand and the category of Product (business) or service. The thoughts and observations are construed into a value proposition and make up a document, often called a Creative Brief, that is used to create and inspire advertising campaigns and other marketing communications.
Mobile advertising is a form of advertising via mobile (wireless) phones or other mobile devices. It is a subset of mobile marketing, mobile advertising can take place as text ads via SMS, or banner advertisements that appear embedded in a mobile web site.
Media buying is taking a commercial, or newspaper ad, or other sales message and getting it viewed by the intended audience. For example, an advertisement for Centrum Silver would not do well in Teen Beat magazine. A media buyer links the ad to the intended audience in order to make the ad effective. These ads are intended to sell a product and may be published on TV, online, newspapers or magazines. The media buyer negotiates price and placement of the ad for the advertisers.
Media planning is generally outsourced and entails sourcing and selecting optimal media platforms for a client's brand or product to use. The goal of media planning is to determine the best combination of media to achieve the clients objectives.
HS Ad is an advertising agency that was established in 1984 as an affiliate of LG Group. HS Ad is engaged in all advertising communications, including creative concept development, creation of advertisements for four major media, brand marketing, media planning/buying, mobile and wireless advertising, and event and space design. In 2009, the company reorganized to newly create IMC Strategy Group, an organization for BP, MP, and AP to share and jointly address concepts and strategies for brands.
Marcio Moreira was a multi-cultural marketing executive who played an influential role in the globalization of advertising. In a 44-year career at McCann Erickson Worldwide, Moreira headed the agency's InterNational Team—referred to by The New York Times as a "daring experiment in the nascent science of worldwide marketing"—customizing global campaigns to address cultural nuances on a country-by-country basis. Moreira has been credited with accelerating the cross-border, or trans-nationalization, of brands.
The history of advertising can be traced to ancient civilizations. It became a major force in capitalist economies in the mid-19th century, based primarily on newspapers and magazines. In the 20th century, advertising grew rapidly with new technologies such as direct mail, radio, television, the internet and mobile devices.
"Global Anthem" was an American television commercial created by advertising agency JWT Detroit for Ford Motor Company in 1999. At the time, the commercial was believed to be the world's biggest advertisement, one of the largest single commercial productions in US advertising history and one of the most expensive. In media terms, it was the most widespread use of one commercial at one time by a giant advertiser. Initially, a single two-minute version aired in almost every country in the world simultaneously at 9pm on November 1, 1999, reaching an estimated one billion people, 300 million households, and 80% of the world’s viewing population. It was recorded as the world's first global media roadblock in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999.
1841 - Volney B. Palmer opens the first American advertising agency, in Philadelphia.