6 Huge Advertising Agencies in the World
The advertising world is a multi-billion dollar business and the engine that fuels the capitalist world. Advertising has a major role in creating customer demand, and promoting products and services using paid space have become the object of activity for dedicated companies since the 18th century, when the William Taylor agency began its activity in 1786. It has been estimated there are more than half a million advertising agencies in the world nowadays, and it’s no surprise, given that ads are a constant presence in public spaces. Here is a list of the largest advertising agencies in the world, based on revenue, employees, and popularity:
1. Mullen Advertising
Mullen is an American advertising company based in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1970 and has 4 full-service locations and one satellite office. Mullen has won four times the Adweek New England Agency of the Year prize and in 2011 it was named the third best agency in the country by Ad Age’s A list. In 2015, Mullen had merged with the Lowe and Partners agency. Before merging, some of Mullen’s clients were Ask.com, General Motors, Google, Match.com, Grey Goose vodka, Timberland, and Zappos.
The beginnings of this agency date back to 1850, when Edmund Mather started the London advertising agency carrying his last name. A century later, in 1964, Matter merged with Ogilvy, the agency founded by the famous advertiser David Ogilvy. The newly-created agency was successful starting with its first years of activity, and worked for The Hershey Company, Merrill Lynch, TWA, and American Express. In 1980, a public relations division was opened, called Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations. Current clients include Dove, American Express, and IBM. Furthermore, Ogilvy & Mather also provides pro bono services and creates corporate social responsibility campaigns. Some of the non-profit organizations that have benefited from these services are Amnesty International, Global Media AIDS Initiative, WWF, and Operation Smile.
BBDO employs more than 15,000 advertising professionals and has its headquarters in New York City. BBDO also has a long history, as it began in 1891 with the Batten Company, and become BBDO by merging with BDO (Barton, Durstine & Osborn) in 1928. Multiple expert publications, like Adweek and Campaign, have named BBDO Agency of the Year in 2005. BBDO currently has an astounding number of 289 offices in 80 countries.
4. McCann Erickson
Another global agency with offices in 120 countries, McCann Erickson started in 1930 with a merger between Erickson (founded in 1902) and H. K. McCann (founded in 1912). The agency’s credo is “Truth well told” and the same belief is shared with other brands in the McCann Worldgroup, such as momentum, ChaseDesign, McCann Health, and CRAFT. Notable campaigns include Coca Cola (“It’s The Real Thing” slogan), Army Strong for the United States Army, and Master Card (the slogan “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard”).
Dentsu Inc. is a Japanese international advertising and public relations agency with more than 47,000 employees (as of 2016). The agency was founded in 1901 and its headquarters are located in Minato, Tokyo. The current chairman is Tatsuyoshi Takashima. Dentsu controls over 30% of the Japanese market and is twice the size of its closest competitor. An interesting fact about this agency is that its new employees follow a tradition since 1925 – they climb the Mount Fuji every July (on condition they are physically able). A former employee explained the reason behind this tradition: “The message is: ‘We are going to conquer the one symbol that represents Japan more than anything else. And, once we do that, it will signify that we can do anything.'” On the other hand, employees at Dentsu may not be the happiest ones at work, since an employee committed suicide in 2015 due to overwork – it was discovered the company had exceeded its maximum overtime limit earlier that year.
6. Grey Advertising
Grey Advertising is one of the most widespread groups in the world, with 432 offices in 96 countries. Its clients are multinational companies only, and the most powerful brands are served by this global agency. One of its strengths is represented by digital services and the agency has won countless prizes since its start in 1917. Notable campaigns include the Space Chair, the 2009 ad for Toshiba, and “Let the Issues Be the Issue”, the campaign about the 2008 US presidential election. However, there has also been serious controversy about Grey Advertising, in 2016, when the agency’s philanthropic division launched a hoax app claiming it was using crowdsourcing to help refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. Developers debunked the app and Apple eliminated it from its store on the same day when it was awarded a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Lions Festival.
Just a few facts about the biggest advertising agencies in the world reveal to us what a major role these companies have in today’s consumer world. We are looking forward to seeing what they bring next!