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

Advertising Agencies

leading marketing services companies


The Top Global Advertising Networks

As boundaries between different marketing disciplines become ever more blurred it has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to compile a ranking of individual advertising brands by revenues. These, however, remain the major players globally.


No agency dominates its home market as wholly as Dentsu, which controls around 30% of Japan's mass media advertising. But while it has established a strong presence in other Asian territories, the Dentsu brand has little profile in Western markets, compared to sister network McGarryBowen

more here

DDB's principal founder Bill Bernbach is often considered to be the single most influential figure in post-war advertising. Now a subsidiary of Omnicom, DDB Group also houses a collection of other agencies including CRM network Rapp, branding agency Interbrand and digital specialist Tribal.

more here

BBDO is arguably the world's most admired creative network, having won more industry awards since 2005 than any other. The main advertising agency is the biggest by revenues in the US, and regional units such as AMV BBDO of the UK and Clemenger BBDO of Australia lead their own local markets.

more here

Hakuhodo is Japan's second largest ad agency behind Dentsu, but has an even less widespread international presence, with only a handful of low key subsidiaries outside its domestic market. Its parent company also owns two other major local agencies, Daiko and Yomiko.

more here

TBWA is the youngest of the three advertising networks within Omnicom, positioned as an alternative brand, with a reputation for "disruptive" work. It is best known for its work for keystone clients such as Nissan and especially Apple, for whom it has created a series of iconic marketing campaigns.

more here

One of the pioneers in global marketing, McCann Erickson was the first ad agency to diversify into other marketing disciplines. McCann Worldgroup also contains PR giant Weber Shandwick, and branding specialist Futurebrand as well as healthcare, sales promotion and CRM specialists.

more here
Ogilvy & Mather

David Ogilvy created Ogilvy & Mather virtually from scratch in the years after WW2, establishing himself as one of the ad industry's most influential figures. The agency remains a global powerhouse, with skills across the whole range of marketing disciplines including healthcare, PR and CRM.

more here
Wunderman Thompson

Wunderman Thompson was created in 2018 from the merger of WPP's long-established but poorly performing J Walter Thompson with fast-growing digital and direct sibling Wunderman. For the most part, Wunderman's management team has gained the upper hand in the combined entity.

more here
Publicis Worldwide

The only global network still headquartered in France, Publicis is the biggest brand within the group of the same name, sitting alongside acquired businesses such Leo Burnett and Saatchi. Despite a global presence, the main Publicis Conseil office in Paris remains the network's clear flagship.

more here
Grey Group

Traditionally the smallest of the four major networks within WPP, Grey moved up the ranks as a result of strong and stready growth. Creative output has improved drama-tically in recent years, but Grey is best-known for diligent account management and long-lasting client relationships.

more here
Havas Worldwide

Havas (known as Euro RSCG until 2014) is the main advertising network within the French marketing group of the same name. The last of the major independent agency networks until 2016, it is now a unit of French media and telecoms group Vivendi.

more here
Leo Burnett

Now one of three major advertising networks within Publicis Groupe, Leo Burnett pioneered what used to be called the "Chicago school" of advertising, which personalises client brands' core values in the form of a brand mascot: such as Uncle Ben, the Marlboro man or the Jolly Green Giant.

more here

A unit of WPP since 2000, Y&R was until 2018 the main ad network within the wider Young & Rubicam group, alonside Wunderman and other agencies. In 2018, WPP announced Y&R's separation from Wunderman and its merger instead with digital agency VML to form VMLY&R

more here

FCB readopted its old name in 2014 after several years as Draftfcb. That entity was created from the merger of the old Foote Cone & Belding agency with direct marketer Draft, also owned by Interpublic, to create an integrated worldwide marketing services giant.

more here

South Korea's biggest ad agency has established a global network to support key client and part-owner Samsung, proving that "inhouse" agencies can be just as dynamic as traditional third-party ones. Its skillset has been boosted by acquisitions including global network Iris and BMB in the UK.

more here

Serviceplan is Germany's biggest independent advertising and marketing group, and has gradually established an extensive presence across several other European markets and more recently into Asia and North America as well. It is privately owned and run by the Haller family.

more here
Saatchi & Saatchi

In its heyday in the 1980s, Saatchi & Saatchi was the world's biggest ad company, before falling upon hard times. Owned by Publicis Groupe since 2000, it's somewhat smaller now, but still the world's most famous advertising brand; the only one recognised by members of the ordinary public.

more here
Lowe & Partners

MullenLowe was created in 2015 from merger of Interpublic's creatively admired Lowe & Partners with the standalone US agency Mullen. It is the latest of several attempts to establish a lasting presence for Lowe in the US, following earlier alliances with Deutsch and Campbell Ewald.

more here
Wieden & Kennedy

Wieden & Kennedy is a fierce challenger for the crown of World's Most Admired Agency. Already the coolest shop in the business, it has an unrivalled reputation for memorable advertising. Not just for cornerstone client Nike, but also for the likes of Old Spice, and until recently Chrysler and Heineken.

more here
M&C Saatchi

M&C is the other global ad agency created by Maurice & Charles Saatchi, after they were ousted from their original business. In many markets, it actually overshadows the older network, and also manages its own small collection of diversified specialist subsidiaries.

more here

Droga5 is another rival for the title of World's Most Admired Agency. It was founded by former Publicis creative leader David Droga, still its chairman and main guiding presence. In a shock development in 2019 it became the biggest addition to-date to Accenture's advertising portfolio.

more here

New York agency McGarryBowen was the most ambitious of Dentsu's Western acquisitions in the 2000s. It has absorbed and rejuvenated the Japanese group's Dentsu-branded outposts in other countries, establishing a significant presence as a global advertising brand in its own right.

more here
Forsman & Bodenfors

Forsman & Bodenfors is the newly renamed lead agency within challenger marketing group MDC Partners. It was formed in 2018 from the merger and surprise rebranding of US-based KBS with Swedish creative hothouse Forsman & Bodenfors.

more here

Bartle Bogle Hegarty (or BBH) has long ranked as one of the world's most admired creative agencies, with a reputation for stylish, elegant and original advertising. Despite the departure of its founding partners following a full buyout by Publicis Groupe, it has retained its style and strength.

more here
Source: AdAge 2018, other. Table includes only general market agencies with a united global brand


The World's Most Creative Advertising Agencies: click here for rankings


Other International Networks

These are some of the other top advertising agencies profiled in Adbrands which have a presence in more than one country

Crispin Porter & Bogusky
180 Amsterdam & Los Angeles
Arnold Worldwide
Scholz & Friends


Gone but not (completely) forgotten

Adbrands also provides historical profiles of some of the most important advertising agencies of the past, which have either closed down or been absorbed into other agencies or networks.

Lord & Thomas NW Ayer
Foote Cone & Belding D'Arcy Worldwide
True North Communications Gold Greenlees Trott / GGT
BCom3 MacManus Group / MacManus John & Adams
Benton & Bowles Collett Dickenson Pearce : CDP
Ammirati & Puris / Lintas Worldwide Springer & Jacoby
Bozell Snyder Communications
GlobalHue Cordiant
Lighthouse Global Network Ted Bates / Bates Worldwide
MarchFirst - USWeb/CKS - WhittmanHart Scient/iXL - SBI & Co Modernista
SH Benson MFP Margeotes Fertitta Powell
Envoy Communications Element 79 Partners
CIA Medianetwork / Tempus Masius Wynne-Williams
FCA ! BMZ Arnell Group
Panoramic Communications / Earle Palmer Brown The Campaign Palace
Campbell Mithun Batey Ads
RMG Connect Boase Massimi Pollitt : BMP DDB

Click here for Global Advertisers Index

All rights reserved © Mind Advertising Ltd 1998-2022