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Ad Expenditure: US$26.07bn 2018 GroupM Forecast This Year Next Year Dec 2017

Advertising Agencies

The Top Advertising Agencies in the UK in 2018


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.

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McCann London

McCann Erickson has been a pillar of the UK advertising industry for over 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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DDB London

Omnicom revitalised the London outpost of DDB in 2012 by merging it into newly acquired indie Adam & Eve. The combined agency is still arguably the single most admired creative agency in the UK at present, despite the departure in 2018 of the original A&E leadership team

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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 string of account wins catapulted the agency into the UK top ten for the first time in 2011.

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Bartle Bogle Hegarty

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.

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Grey London

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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Saatchi & Saatchi London

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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Ogilvy London

Ogilvy Group UK was until 2017 the umbrella for a collection of ten separate units led by ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, all of which worked together to offer fully integrated "360 Degree Branding". Those separate units have now been merged into the main agency to form a single cohesive unit.

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Leo Burnett 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.

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WCRS was the main advertising agency within independent marketing group Engine, partnered by a collection of separate marketing services companies. Most of these were merged in 2019 under the single corporate brand Engine. The WCRS brand was dropped.

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TBWA London

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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Publicis 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.

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Karmarama has been one of the fastest-growing independent agencies in recent years. In 2012, it raised funding to expand still further and offer a full range of marketing services. Its purchase by consultancy Accenture in 2017 sent a shockwave through the UK industry.

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Still London's coolest agency, Mother continues to win acclaim for its creativity, even if it has abandoned the quirkiness for which it was once known. In an industry dominated by multi-brand groups, Mother continues to plough its own independent furrow.

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The London arm of Y&R was known until 2017 as RKCR/Y&R. However, performance at what was once the UK's #3 agency flagged dramatically, leading to a string of client departures. In late 2018 it was merged with digital agency VML to become VMLY&R.

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Founded in 2005 by four 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 Fiat business. It sacrified in 2018 its independence to join The Mission Marketing Group

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CHI & Partners

The & Partnership is the new name for what was previously CHI & Partners. It 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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M&C Saatchi

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.

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Wieden & Kennedy London

Wieden & Kennedy's London office is at its best when delivering stylish, quirky creative work. The capture of the Tesco account forced a change of style, to which the agency was not best suited. That account later moved on, to be replaced by Sainsbury's.

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J Walter Thompson London

J Walter Thompson is long established as one of the giants of the UK industry. However, after several years of strong growth, it has suffered recently from weak performance, slipping steadily down the rankings. It merged in 2018 with Wunderman to become Wunderman Thompson.

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Havas Worldwide

The old Euro RSCG, now rebranded as just Havas, traditionally comprised the main ad agency in London as well as various diversified marketing services and media shops. These have been gradually combined to create a single full service business.

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FCB Inferno

FCB's struggling London office was given a new lease of life in 2013 with its merger with plucky independent agency Inferno. That 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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MullenLowe is the latest of several reincarnations of the Lowe network. It replaced DLKW Lowe, a successful merger of the struggling Lowe London office with indie DLKW. The combination with Mullen has been less productive, prompting the loss of several managers and clients.

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Lucky Generals

Lucky Generals was formed in 2013 by the management team of MCBD following its ill-fated merger into digital agency Dare. They staged a remarkable comeback before selling out to TBWA London. LG remains separate for now, but founder Helen Calcraft now oversees both agencies.

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Home is now the UK's biggest regional marketing agency. The main agency in Leeds is supported by satellites in London and Edinburgh, as well as an office in Gibraltar to service several gambling and financial services clients headquartered there.

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Anomaly is the creative boutique established by former TBWA COO Carl Johnson and five partners. Jointly headquartered in New York and London, it likes to describe itself as a "new model" agency. It entered the UK Top 30 for the first time in 2018.

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Brothers and Sisters

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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Space City

Originally a regional agency but now based in London, Space City Productions entered the Top 30 for the first time in 2018. It bills itself as the UK's #1 producer of low cost TV advertising, primarily direct response commercials or sponsorship idents.

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Integrated agency Iris established an impressive global network while still privately owned, but has more recently traded up to become one of several separately branded satellites of the Samsung-controlled Korean marketing agency Cheil.

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Another new entrant in 2018, Fold7 has steadily clawed its way up the industry rankings, helped by an ever expanding role as the lead agency for Carlsberg in Europe. It's still controlled by co-founder and creative director Ryan Newey with noted industry veteran Marc Nohr as CEO.

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Billings sourced from Nielsen/Campaign Top 100 2019

The UK's Top Media Agencies in 2018 ranked by billings

MediaCom Zenith All Response Media (Havas Helia)
Wavemaker The7Stars Havas Media
OMD Vizeum M/Six
Carat Blue 449 Goodstuff Communications
Mindshare Essence Arena Media
PHD UM Hearts & Science
Starcom Initiative Generation Media

Source: Nielsen  / Campaign Top 100 2018

Leading UK PR Agencies in 2019 (ranked by estimated income)

Edelman Freuds
Weber Shandwick Burson Cohn & Wolfe
Brunswick Hill & Knowlton Strategies
Teneo MS&L
FTI Finsbury

Source: PR Week

Other UK advertising & Media Agencies Profiled in Adbrands

And Rising Golley Slater
Dare McGarryBowen London
Leagas Delaney Leith Agency
Kinetic Williams Lea Tag
Total Media St Luke's
Naked The Mission | Bray Leino
John Ayling & Associates BMB
The Red Brick Road Libertine
Uber Agency Rapier
Fallon London CreativeRace (formerly Gratterpalm)
Above & Beyond Wordley

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
i-level CPV Colman Prentis & Varley
Boase Massimi Pollitt : BMP DDB Bell Pottinger
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