Ad Expenditure: US$558bn 2018 GroupM Forecast This Year Next Year Dec 2017

Advertising Agencies

leading marketing services companies

The Top Advertising & Marketing Groups Worldwide

Only six traditional full service advertising and marketing services groups remain, and they face major new challengers for a share of global advertising budgets from a new breed of management consultancies expanding into marketing services, especially digital marketing.


British giant WPP overtook Omnicom in 2008 to become the world's biggest marketing group, but recently it has been beset by problems, not least the sudden departure in 2018 of its founder Sir Martin Sorrell. It owns four major advertising agencies in Ogilvy, VMLY&R, Wunderman Thompson and Grey as well as media networks Mindshare, Mediacom and Wavemaker, and more than 100 other diversified marketing agencies.

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Omnicom Group

Omnicom is the #2 marketing services group, with an extensive collection of different businesses led by the global networks of BBDO, DDB and TBWA, each with an unequalled reputation for creative excellence. Its main media buying network is OMD. The group also manages the largest portfolio of diversified marketing services companies of any global group. Plans to overtake WPP for the top spot through a merger with Publicis were abandoned in 2014.

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Publicis Groupe

Publicis Groupe of France forced its way into the upper ranks with a string of canny acquisitions, including Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett. It also took control of BBH, and acquired a string of digital specialists including Digitas, Razorfish and Sapient. In 2016 its media networks Starcom MediaVest and Zenith Optimedia were split into four separate units. A bold plan to merge with Omnicom to create a new global giant collapsed in 2014.

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Interpublic is still one of the big four marketing groups but it struggled in the early 2000s with a series of challenges in different parts of its portfolio. Its lead advertising network is McCann Worldgroup, one of the original pioneers in global marketing, supported by integrated network FCB, and a diverse collection of other shops including creative agencies Mullen Lowe and Deutsch, PR giant Weber Shandwick and digital specialist R/GA. Media networks include UM and Initiative

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No advertising agency dominates its home market as completely as Dentsu of Japan. Until recently its profile outside Asia was very limited, but Dentsu began to change that imbalance with carefully selected acquisitions. The first big break-through came with the purchase of New York agency McGarry Bowen. That was topped by the bolt-on of what is now Dentsu Aegis Network, owner of global media networks Carat and Vizeum.

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Now a division of French media group Vivendi, Havas is the last of what was once a sizeable second tier of mid-sized global marketing groups. It controls advertising network Havas Worldwide (known as Euro RSCG until 2012) and media network Havas Media, as well as small collection of other agencies, of which the best known is Arnold Worldwide. The former flagship of Euro RSCG in Paris has also established a separate identity under the name BETC.

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The Challengers

Alongside the traditional global leaders there now sits a long tail of diversified providers, many of whom specialise in only some marketing disciplines rather than a full range of services.

Deloitte Digital
Hakuhodo DY
Advantage Marketing Partners
MDC Partners
Williams Lea Tag
RRD Marketing Solutions
Media Consulta
Lagardere Sports & Entertainment
The Stagwell Group
Experian Marketing
Engine Group
ADK Asatsu-DK

Other diversified Marketing Communications Groups

S4 Capital Richards Group Meredith Xcelerated Marketing
Wieden & Kennedy Next Fifteen Centron Communications
Project Worldwide Serviceplan Clemenger Communications
M&C Saatchi ICF Next Asahi advertising
Chime The Marketing Store Cello Group
Innocean Derse Jung von Matt
Harte-Hanks Cramer-Krasselt Armando Testa
Match Marketing Group Unlimited Group Nurun
Brunswick MSQ Partners RPA
Huntsworth GIIR Select Communications
iCrossing Enero Group Sid Lee
Horizon Media    


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