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

Advertising Agencies

The Top Advertising Agencies in the UK in 2021

DDB London

Omnicom revitalised the struggling London outpost of DDB by merging it in 2012 into newly acquired indie Adam & Eve. The combined agency has dominated the UK industry ever since, finally unseating AMV BBDO as the country's #1 agency by billings in 2019.

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McCann London

McCann Erickson has been a pillar of the UK advertising industry for almost a century. 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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VCCP has been one of the UK's star agencies of recent years, the highest ranking shop that's not part of one of the Big Five global groups. Instead it's one of the key pillars of independent Chime, and has slowly built up its own global network, with offices in Australia, Germany and elsewhere.

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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. It has gradually become Publicis Groupe's lead creative agency globally.

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Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Now part of Publicis, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (or BBH) has long been one of the world's most admired ad agencies, with a reputation for stylish, elegant creative. Though now retired, co-founder John Hegarty is the UK's best-known ad man after the Saatchi brothers.

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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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The former WCRS adopted the Engine name in 2019 after absorbing a collection of separate marketing services companies. It was put up for sale in 2021 by its private equity owners and was acquired in 2022 by marketing group Next 15.

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After 30 years as the UK's biggest ad agency, AMV BBDO was unseated in 2019 by Omnicom stablemate A&E DDB. It remains one of the country's most respected agencies, but has steadily slipped down the rankings as a result of account losses.

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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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MullenLowe London

MullenLowe rocketed up the UK rankings to 3rd place in 2020 because of its lead on the UK Covid ad campaign. The end of lockdown saw a reduction in billings. It was formed from the merger of what was once the mighty Lowe London with Mullen of the US.

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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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CHI & Partners

Part-owned by WPP, The & Partnership is the current 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.

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In the 2010s Karmarama was one of the UK's fastest-growing independent agencies. 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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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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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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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 'Havas Village'.

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Publicis Poke

Although it maintains a lower profile than some of its peers, London is one of the Publicis network's main hubs. The group has strengthened its direct and digital offering with several acquisitions. In 2019 it merged with sister Poke to form the current business.

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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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Pablo London

Independent Pablo crashed the UK Top 30 for the first time in 2021 as a result of an ever-expanding collection of high-spending accounts, not least the furniture retailer DFS. It is still run by founder Gareth Mercer who launched the agency in 2015.

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Wunderman Thompson London

One of the original giants of the UK industry. JWT had suffered for years from weak performance, slipping steadily down the rankings. The global network was merged in 2018 with Wunderman to become Wunderman Thompson.

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Grey London

London is one of Grey's biggest international outposts and was its first office outside the US in 1962. It underwent an extraordinary creative rebirth in the late 2000s, and for several years it was WPP's biggest UK agency. Recently, though, performance has stalled.

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Uncommon was founded in 2017 by a trio who had previously led the rejuvenation of Grey London. Eye-catching creative and industry buzz gave Uncommon an early lift and in 2021 it was named as Campaign's Agency of the Year.

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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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IMA Home

IMA-Home is the UK's biggest regional agency, formed in 2021 from the merger of two leading agencies based in Leeds in the North of England, Home and Intermarketing. It is a subsidiary of sales and marketing outsourcing specialist Advantage Smollan.

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M&C Saatchi

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

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Founded in 2011 as a UK offshoot of US agency Creature, the London outpost survived its parent's demise five years later and has indeed thrived ever since under founding partners Dan Cullen-Shute and Ben Middleton. It broke into the Top 30 for the first time in 2021.

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Integrated agency Iris maintains its HQ in the UK but has established a global network spanning mainland Europe, Asia, Australia and the US. It offers a full range of services including traditional advertising, direct & digital, sales promotion and experiential, and also sponsorship and public relations.

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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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Another new Top 30 entrant in 2021, ODD was originally known as a specialist in fashion advertising - which is still its core business - but it has gradually expanded its range since being acquired by Next 15 in 2015. In 2022 it will merge with newly acquired Engine.

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Brothers and Sisters

Back in the 1990s, St Luke's was one of London's hottest and most idiosyncratic agencies. It suffered a sharp decline in the 2000s but has steadily improved its standing since then, and won a place in the Top 30 ranking in 2021 for the first time since its heyday.

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Billings sourced from Nielsen/Campaign Top 100 2021

The UK's Top Media Agencies in 2020 ranked by billings

MediaCom Starcom iProspect
OMD Zenith All Response Media (Havas Helia)
Wavemaker The7Stars Spark Foundry
Essence Initiative M/Six
Mindshare UM Hearts & Science
PHD Havas Media The Specialist Works
Carat Goodstuff Communications Medialab

Source: Nielsen  / Campaign Top 100 2021

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
Above & Beyond Williams Lea Tag
Total Media Brothers & Sisters
Naked The Mission | Bray Leino
John Ayling & Associates BMB
The Red Brick Road Libertine
Uber Agency VMLY&R
Fallon London FCB Inferno

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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