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Top 30 London Advertising Agencies (Introduction)

Our top 30 London advertising agencies (in alphabetical order)

AMV BBDO
Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO is the agency behind Guinness’ great ads of recent times (i.e. The Surfer). AMV BBDO can claim to be the first in the industry in many areas, including: largest amount of clients in the UK and the biggest agency in the UK for the last 10 years. Some of its clients include: BBC, BT, Camelot, Campbell’s, Diageo, The Economist, Gillette, Sainsbury, Motorola, Pepsi and Walkers.

AKQA
Interactive (focusing on internet / digital), independent, American agency, established in 1995. Aqka was responsible for the design of the user interface for the Xbox 360 video game console. UK Clients include: Volkswagen, Coca Cola, Virgin, Sainsbury, Sky, Visa, Nike, and others.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty
BBH has been behind some of the classic ads of the last two decades or so, in particular, the Levi laundrette ad, Vorsprung durch Technik (Audi), Johnny Walker and more. The company was formed in 1982. It is still majority-owned by BBH employees.

Beattie McGuinness Bungay
BMB is only a few years old but it has taken off with a bang. Carling is one of its most important clients at the moment, for which it has done much (favourably) talked-about work. Other clients include: Ikea, Walls, Pretty Polly and more.

Brothers and Sisters
Founded in 2007  by Andy Fowler, previously, Sky’s in-house, creative director. Clients include: Adidas, Museum of London, Sky1HD, Sky Sports, Impulse, and more.

CHI and Partners
Although only 7 years old, it seems a while ago that Chi and Partners first cut its teeth in the world of advertising, now enjoying a wide range of clients that include, for example, AOL Broadband, Argos, British Gas, Carphone Warehouse, RBS, Samsung, Tango, and Toyota.

Dare
Dare (a leading digital agency) was, recently, merged with MCBD (a leading ad agency). Clients include: Sony Ericsson, Hovis, Tetley, Penguin, EA Games, Virgin Holidays.

DDB London
Famed for its classic 1959 Volkswagen campaign, and in recent years, for ‘Whassup’, DDB was founded over half a century ago; one of its founders being the famous advertising executive Bill Bernbach. DDB is the most awarded agency in the Gunn report and the reigning IPA Effectiveness Agency of The Year.

DLKW LOWE
In 2010 Lowe bought DLKW, with DLKW already being a leading agency in its own right (with the current chairman, joint CEOs, director of strategy and managing director all from DLKW). Clients include: Burger King, Halfords, Legoland, Morrisons, Knor, WHSmoth, Unilever and others. 

Euro RSCG London
Euro RSCG London (one of the many companies within The Euro RSCG Group – one of the largest global advertising / marketing groups in the world) clients include: Peugot, BMI, Peugot, and others. It’s best known campaign at the moment is car robot for Citreon ‘Carbot.

Fallon London
Fallon was founded in 1981, and as early as 1984 was named agency of the year by Advertising Age (and agency of the year in 2007 by Campaign). Fallon is renowned for its creative output, having won more important creative awards than any other advertising agency in the world. Some of its recent (classic) campaigns include: Sony Bravia ‘Balls’ and Cadbury’s Gorilla.

Grey London
Grey started off as a DM agency in 1917. It is now a part of the WWP Group. Some of its recent / current clients include, Glaxosmithkline, Procter & Gamble, Dairy Crest, Nokia, Toshiba, VISA and SEAT.

Karmarama
Independently owned creative British advertising agency founded in 2000. Clients include: Nintendo, Unilever, Lastminute.com, Costa, Coca Cola, Amstel, and more.

Glue
Advertising agency specialising in digital creative work. Founded in 1999. They have been voted New Media Age’s Most Respected Agency for four years running. Clients include: The Sun, Norwich Union, McCain, Virgin Trains, and others.

JWT

JWT was founded in 1864 (getting its name James Walter Thompson in 1864). JWT has played a crucial role in the development of the modern advertising agency as we know it now, in particular, in account planning, copywriting and offering ‘full-service’ work. Some JWT’s current / recent clients include: Diageo (Smirnoff), HSBC, Kellogg’s, Nestle Rowntree, Nokia, Pfizer, Shell and more.

Leo Burnett
The Chicago-based advertising agency was founded by Leo Burnett back in the 1930s – Burnett being one of the best known advertising men of the 20th century. Some of its current / recent clients include: Proctor & Gamble, McDonald’s, Kellogg’s, Nintendo, and more.

Libertine London
Advertising, Digital and Direct Marketing. 60 employees. Clients include: Heathrow Express, HMV, Associated British Foods, Artemis, Matalan,  and more.

Ogilvy & Mather Group UK
Ogilvy & Mather was founded (jointly- founded) by David Ogilvy, one of the most famous advertising men of the 20th century (who played an important role in the building of many big brands during the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s). Some of the company’s best work at the moment includes: DHL Express, Toblerone, Ford, Dove, and Comfort.

M & C Saatchi
M & Saatchi was founded by Maurice and Charles Saatchi in 1995. M & C Saatchi was awarded APG ‘Strategy Agency of the Year’ for 2007. Some of its clients at the moment include: Direct Line, GlaxoSmithKline, Kingsmill, Ladbrokes, Natwest, Ribena, ITV, London Transport, and Foster’s.

McCann-Erickson
McCann-Erickson was named ‘Global Agency of The Year’ by Adweek in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Some its clients include: Mastercard, Intel, L’Oreal, American Airlines, UPS, Sony Erickson, Microsoft, Nestle, Xbox, HP, Maestro, MSN, Yoplait, and Nescafe. It is probably best remembered in recent years for its Mastercard campaign ‘There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there is Mastercard.’

Mother
Mother is one of the fastest growing agencies of the last 10 years or so. It has a reputation for creativity. Some of its major current / recent clients include Boots, Coca-Cola (Coke, Schweppes, Fanta and more), Unilever (PG Tips, Pot Noodle, and others), Miller, and Diageo (Pimms).

Publicis London
Publicis was founded in 1972. It is part of a larger worldwide group. Some of its current / recent clients include: Renault, ASDA, Cadbury, Eurotunnel, Ericsson, HP, Allied Domecq, and United Biscuits.

Red Brick Road
Founded in 2006, The Red Brick Road is focused on brand, digital, social, direct, retail marketing, print and TV. Clients include: Magners, Olympus, Tesco and Tesco Mobile, and more.

Rapier
Integrated creative agency. Started off in 1988 (direct marketing), becoming a general, creative ad agency in 1995. Clients include: B&Q, Heat, Lloyds TSB, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Southeastern Railways, Travelodge, Virgin Media, Yell ..

Saatchi & Saatchi
Saatchi & Saatchi was founded back in the 70s by Charles and Maurice Saatchi to reach legendary status a few years later with campaigns for the Conservative Party ‘Labour isn’t working’, British Airways, and Silkcut. Some of its current / recent clients include: Carlsberg UK, Diageo, Sony Ericsson, Standard Life, T-Mobile, Toyota, and VISA International

TBWA London
TBWA was founded in Paris in 1970, and opened its first office in London in 1973. It has a particular reputation for creativity, and is a popular destination of work for both copywriters and art directors. TBWA was named Global Agency Network of the Year in 2006 by ADWEEK. Some of its most popular recent work includes: Nivea Masterbrand, Pedigree ‘Adoption Drive’, and ‘Galaxy Remember.’

United London
United London began as HHCL, over 20 years now. In that time it has made a name for itself with a number of well-known campaigns (Tango’s ‘You know when you’ve been Tango’d', Pot Noodle, Captains Bird Eye, and Ronseel’s ‘Does exactly what it says on the tin.’ It was voted ‘Agency of the Decade’ by campaign in 2000.

VCCP
Integrated agency. The agency behind comparethemarket.com meerkat campaign. Clients include: Muller Rice, O2, Southern Railway, Standard Life, Texaco, 5 Alive, Capri Sun, COI, and others.

WCRS
WCRS was founded in 1979 but went underwent a major change in 2004 when it was 27 of its staff bought the agency back from its previous owners. Some of its clients include: Abbey, BMW, Bupa, Churchill, Sky, Littlewoods, Nokia, Prudential, Bacardi, and Weetabix.

Wieden & Kennedy London
Wieden & Kennedy, one of the largest, independently-owned advertising agencies in the world, was set up in Oregon over 25 years ago. It is the agency behind Nike’s ‘Just do it’. Some other clients who they have done important work for, currently / recently, include: Coke, Honda and Old Spice. In 2007 Adweek named Widen & Kennedy ‘Global Agency of The Year.’

For the 30th spot, we’re adding three exciting agencies to look out for: Albion, Anomaly andBeta.

With thanks to Will Humphrey


 

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6 Comments

  1. Not a lot of surprises in your list.

    Recessions tend to provoke the Advertising industry’s rising stars to launch their own agencies – usually bringing new business models to the market.

    Hopefully your 2011 Top 25 list will have a few new names based on exciting new developments in an industry struggling to remain relevant to big UK and International businesses.

    Having worked with 8 of your list (and worked at 3 of them) – I can safely say it is time this industry was shaken up.

  2. Thanks for your comment Graham,
    Good point. Yes, will have to follow closely now more than ever with everything that is going on / rapid developments taking place in digital media, and now in mobile marketing, in particular.

  3. Graham

    In your opinion, who are the up and coming stars?

  4. There are too many to mention, but as commerce and the branded world continue to bulge, so does the increase in agencies, and that then fuels competition and this is why there are so many good agencies trying to be different, but really they share the same ideologies. Thanks

  5. It’s a nice and comprehensive list of a-rated agencies here, but I have two things to point out – Anomaly London, St. Luke’s and Albion could also be included, and there is a typo in AKQA’s name :)

  6. Hey Graham!

    Helpful list! On a tangent, I’m actually a music promoter and wondering who I should be contacting (at agencies) with regards to music synching. We’ve got a database of up and coming and often unsigned music and this is a parallel step we’re intersted in taking.

    Any advice on departments or perhaps moreso, any particular agencies you’d suggest would be very helpful, presuming that aiming for the largest in our case, probably isn’t the way forward?!

    Thanks in advance…

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