Ad Expenditure: US$25.87bn 2016 GroupM Forecast This Year Next Year Dec 2015

Advertising Agencies

The Top Advertising Agencies in the UK in 2015

#1 #2
AMV BBDO McCann London

Long established as the UK's biggest advertising agency, as well as arguably its most respected creative powerhouse, AMV is also the local outpost for BBDO. Having held a minority stake since 1991, the American network acquired the balance of the business in 1998.  

McCann Erickson has been a pillar of the UK advertising industry for almost 90 years. The London office forms the hub not just of McCann Worldgroup's European network, but also of Britain's biggest regional advertising network, spanning four cities in the UK and Ireland.

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#3 #4

Omnicom revitalised the flagging London outpost of DDB in early 2012 by merging it into newly acquired indie Adam & Eve, itself a breakaway from RKCR/Y&R. The combined agency, run by A&E's senior team, is one of the most admired creative agencies in the UK.

WCRS is the main advertising agency within marketing group Engine. Since 2005, it has added to its resources with the acquisition of a string of marketing services companies involved in interactive, branded content, sponsorship and direct marketing.

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#5 #6
Bartle Bogle Hegarty VCCP

Now part of Publicis Groupe, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (or BBH) has long ranked as one of the world's top creative agencies, with a reputation for stylish, elegant advertising. Though now retired, creative chief John Hegarty is still the UK's best-known ad man after the Saatchi's.

VCCP is best known for its work for key clients O2 and Comparethe market, for whom it created the hugely popular meercat brand mascots. Steady expansion and a extraordinary string of account wins catapulted the agency into the UK top ten for the first time in 2011.

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#7 #8
Leo Burnett London Grey London

Leo Burnett London is the US advertising network's biggest international office, and now one of the UK's leading agencies. It is particularly good at delivering a distinctly British twist to creative work for network clients such as McDonald's or Kellogg.

Grey London is one of that network's biggest international outposts and was its first office outside the US in 1962. It has undergone an extraordinary creative rebirth since the late 2000s, and a strong new business performance made it WPP's biggest agency in the UK for the first time in 2015.

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#9 #10

RKCR/Y&R is the London arm of Y&R. It has been one of the UK's leading agencies since its creation from the merger of Y&R London with independent Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe. However recent performance has been dented by a string of client departures.

TBWA London was one of the country's most admired agencies in the 1990s and early 2000s. However the departure of three key managers in 2005 prompted several years of turbulence, which the agency is only now beginning to resolve under a new management team.

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#11 #12
Publicis London Saatchi & Saatchi London

Although it maintains a lower profile than some of its peers, Publicis London is one of the worldwide network's main hubs. The group has strengthened its direct and digital offering with several acquisitions including acclaimed independent Chemistry in 2011.

London was the birthplace of what is still the world's most famous advertising brand, and it remains a key outpost in the Saatchi & Saatchi network, even if the HQ has now relocated to New York. Performance has steadily improved in recent years.

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#13 #14
Havas Worldwide MullenLowe

Havas Worldwide is the name, adopted in September 2012, for what was previously the Euro RSCG global network. Its UK subsidiaries include the main advertising agency in London as well as a small collection of diversified marketing services shops.

DLKW Lowe was created at the end of 2010 from the merger of Delaney Lund Knox Warren, a highly regarded independent agency, with the struggling London office of Interpublic's Lowe network. It adopted its current name at the beginning of 2016.

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#15 #16
Mother CHI & Partners

Still London's coolest agency, independently owned Mother continues to make waves and win plaudits for its creative work for the likes of Ikea, Stella Artois and Boots, even if it has largely abandoned the quirkiness for which it was once known.

CHI & Partners, formerly Clemmow Hornby Inge, was one of the most successful new agency launches of the early 2000s, earning the admiration of clients for effective creative work and an enviable new business record. It's now part-owned by WPP.

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#17 #18
J Walter Thompson London Ogilvy London

J Walter Thompson is long established as one of the giants of the UK advertising industry, responsible since its creation in the 1920s for a string of much-loved campaigns. However, after several years of strong growth, it has suffered recently from uneven performance.

Ogilvy Group UK is the umbrella for a collection of ten units led by ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, all of which work together to offer fully integrated "360 Degree Branding" for clients such as Ford, Unilever and American Express.

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#19 #20

Founded in 2005 by a quartet of executives with years of combined experience at other London agencies, Krow has really found its feet since 2010 following two major account wins for DFS furniture and the merged Fiat/Chrysler business.

Karmarama has been one of the fastest-growing independent agencies in recent years. In 2012, it raised funding to expand still further, absorbing integrated agency Crayon in order to offer a full range of marketing services.

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#21 #22
M&C Saatchi FCB Inferno

The second agency founded by the world's most famous admen, M&C Saatchi has built up a strong position for itself since formation in 1995. It ranked for many years among the UK's leading agencies until the loss of two key accounts in 2014 pushed it down the rankings.

FCB's struggling London office was given a new lease of life in 2013 with its merger with plucky independent agency Inferno. That has led to a sharp improvement in performance. In 2014 it returned to the UK Top 30 for the first time in five years.

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#23 #24
Wieden & Kennedy London

Wieden & Kennedy's London office is at its best when delivering stylish, quirky creative work. Its capture in 2012 of the mammoth Tesco account forced a change of style, to which the agency was perhaps not best suited. That account moved on two years later.

Once one of the UK's hottest - but also most idiosyncratic - agencies, St Luke's rather lost its way in the 2000s. It has gradually reclaimed its stability with a less radical philosophy and regained a position among the UK Top 30 in 2013 for the first time in almost a decade.

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#25 #26
Fallon London Brothers and Sisters

The UK outpost of Publicis-owned Fallon Worldwide enjoyed spectacular success in the 2000s, rising to become the UK's #3 agency by 2009. However, the departure of several major clients and senior managers caused billings to plunge after 2010.

Originally, in effect, the inhouse agency of satellite broadcaster Sky, Brothers & Sisters has gradually transcended those beginnings to build a portfolio of other clients. However Sky remains the cornerstone of the business.

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#27 #28

Wordley is a regional production company which has gradually evolved into a full agency, now the single biggest outside London. It tends to specialise in straightforward TV advertising, often for direct response or seasonal clients.

Tag Worldwide now derives the largest share of its revenues directly from advertisers, though it is still best-known as a creative services supplier, handling sub-contracted design, local adaptation and digital production on behalf of other agencies.

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#29 #30
Beattie McGuinness Bungay

The Red Brick Road was originally Frank Lowe's revenge against his former employer; a vehicle for poaching key client Tesco from the old Lowe agency. The subsequent loss of that account prompted the sale of TRBR to a group of younger managers.

Beattie McGuinness Bungay is the creative agency founded in 2005 when creative director Trevor Beattie and two other senior executives from TBWA London jumped ship to set up their own shop. It is now part-owned by Korean advertising group Cheil Worldwide.

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Billings sourced from Nielsen/Campaign Top 100 2016

Virtually all the main creative agencies listed above also offer digital services inhouse. See also:

Top UK Digital Agencies in 2014

The UK's Top Media Agencies in 2015 ranked by billings

MediaCom Maxus Initiative
OMD PHD All Response Media (Havas Helia)
Carat Vizeum Rocket
MEC Havas Media M/Six (CHI)
Mindshare The7Stars Arena Media
ZenithOptimedia UM MNC
Starcom MediaVest Blue 449 John Ayling & Associates

Source: Nielsen  / Campaign Top 100 2015

Leading UK PR Agencies in 2015 (ranked by estimated income)

Edelman Ogilvy PR
Brunswick MS&L
Weber Shandwick Freuds
Hill & Knowlton Strategies Finsbury
FTI FleishmanHillard Fishburn

Source: PR Week

Other UK Advertising & Media Agencies Profiled in Adbrands

18 Feet & Rising Golley Slater
Dare McGarryBowen London
Leagas Delaney Leith Agency
Kinetic MWO
Total Media Recipe
Naked The Mission | Bray Leino
John Ayling & Associates Goodstuff Communications
Public Libertine
Uber Agency Rapier
Bell Pottinger CreativeRace (formerly Gratterpalm)
Lucky Generals  

Gone But Not Quite Forgotten

Brann Bates UK
Collett Dickenson Pearce CDP Partners BDDH
Campbell Doyle Dye / Shop HHCL & Partners
Gold Greenlees Trott / GGT WS Crawford ("Crawfords")
Cordiant SH Benson
CIA Medianetwork / Tempus Masius Wynne-Williams
TBCH Claydon Heeley Agency Republic
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