Jay Conrad Levinson was an American business writer, known as author of the 1984 book Guerrilla marketing.
The WPP Group, based in London, is the world's largest advertising company.Advertising is an incredibly lucrative industry.
An advertising company can be defined as a company that creates, manages, and plans all aspects of a client’s advertising. An advertising company may specialize in a specific area or can be a full-service company that offers public relation services. There are three types of advertising agencies; Above the Line, Below the Line, and Through the Line. ATL are large companies that handle prime account and create national and international advertising campaigns for the clients. BTL handle smaller media placement while THL is a blend of ABL and BTL. Here are the largest advertising companies worldwide.
The London based giant WPP toppled Omnicom Group in 2008 and has since become not only the largest marketing group but also the most revenue generating advertising company. It has an executive office in Dublin and owns various advertising, public relation, and media research networks. WPP owns the some of the largest marketing agencies in the world, namely Grey, JWT, Ogilvy & Mather, and Young & Rubicam. In 2016, WPP generated revenue of approximately US$19 billion and had a record 205,000 employees.
Omnicom Group is the second largest advertising company after WPP Group. The New York-based company controls several businesses including BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide, and TBWA Worldwide. The three agencies have an unrivalled reputation for excellent creativity. They provide services in four main areas including advertisement, public relations, CRM, and specialty services. Omnicom employs over 75,000 employees and generated US$15 billion in 2016. Its planned merger with Publics was abandoned in 2014.
The Paris based Publics Group made its way to the upper rank with strings of smart acquisitions including Leo Burnett Worldwide and Sapient Corporation. Founded in 1926, it is one of the oldest and largest marketing and communication companies in the world. It operates in over 200 cities in 105 countries. A move to merge with Omnicom Group to create the largest advertising company was abandoned in 2014. In 2016, Publics Group recorded revenue of US$9.6 billion, the third highest after WPP and Omnicom.
Although the New York-based Interpublic Group struggled through series of challenges in the 2000s, it still remains one of the big four international advertising companies. It consists of three main networks including McCann Worldgroup, FCB, and Lowe & Partners. Interpublic Group employs about 50,000 employees and recorded revenue of US$7.6 billion in 2015.
Dentsu of Japan dominates its local market more than any other advertising company. However, its popularity outside Asia was limited until recently. It operates in 145 countries and employs approximately 45,000 employees. In 2011, the company formed a partnership with Facebook to help in developing Facebook pages and ads. Facebook provides Dentsu with a premium advertising space.
Although the above five advertising and marketing groups have consistently dominated the advertising industry, they have faced new challengers for the global advertising budget with the new companies and consultancies expanding into digital marketing. Consumer groups are also rethinking their marketing spending with the companies. The emergence of Facebook and Google has been considered a threat to several marketing companies. The two have become a “digital duopoly” accounting for 60% of global digital market ads.
|Rank||Agency Name||Headquarters||Worldwide Revenue (Billions)|
|2||Omnicom Group||New York||15.3|
|4||Interpublic Group||New York||7.5|
John Misachi is a seasoned writer with 5+ years of experience. His favorite topics include finance, history, geography, agriculture, legal, and sports.
Everyone thinks they know who the largest marketing companies in the world are, and I’m sure you know some of the famous agencies like BBDO, Havas or Grey. But would you be surprised if I told you those agencies don’t even crack our top 10?
The landscape of global agencies has become crowded and confusing over the last 10 years. While huge agency networks and holding companies are the vanguard, there has been a convergence of consulting firms and tech giants entering the frame to compete as well as in-house agencies. All of this continues to blur the line between what is considered an agency and who is best suited to help your global marketing, advertising, and digital initiatives.
To bring some clarity to the global agency marketplace, Agency Spotter has put together the 50 largest marketing agencies according to estimated yearly revenue. This list represents the 50 biggest agencies and not the agency networks or groups like WPP, Publicis Group, Dentsu Inc, Interpublic, and Omnicom Group. If you’re looking to find your next marketing partner, keep in mind that the most helpful agency may not be the biggest or most well-known one your budget can afford you… Thankfully, Agency Spotter allows you to search for an agency by size.
Burson-Marsteller is a global public relations firm that is part of Young & Rubicam group, which is a subsidiary of WPP. Established in 1953 by Harold Burson and Bill Marsteller, the agency now has a worldwide network that consists of 77 offices and 85 affiliate offices and operates in 110 countries. Burson-Marsteller has worked with Ford, Thomson Reuters, Blueair and more. Check out Burson-Marsteller on Agency Spotter.
New York, New York
Revenue: $470 million (est.)
Asatsu-DK is a Japanese advertising agency and the third largest agency in Japan after Dentsu and Hakuhodo. Established in 1956, the Consumer Activation Company has over 3,400 employees and more than 80 offices. Bain Capital, a private equity firm based in Boston, recently bought ADK for $1.4 billion. See Asatsu-DK’s portfolio here.
46. The Engine Group
London, United Kingdom
Revenue: $480 million (est.)
Founded in 2008, Maxus is a global media agency part of WPP’s GroupM, the world’s largest media investment management group. Maxus is one of the fastest growing media agency for six consecutive years with over 3,000 employees, 70 offices in 55 countries. They are currently serving as media agency of record for Jet, OLX and Huawei. Maxus will be merging with fellow GroupM agency, MEC, to create a new agency called WAVEMAKER. Learn more about Maxus.
New York, New York
Revenue: $520 million (est.)
Proximity Worldwide is a global digital agency that specializes in digital advertising, direct marketing and CRM. They are the most awarded digital, direct and CRM global agency for work with clients like Volkswagen, The Economist, Cochlear, Audi, Foxtel and others. Proximity is part of the Omnicom group of companies. Learn more about Proximity.
St. Louis, Missouri
Revenue: $547 million (est.)
PHD launched as the world’s first planning-led media agency back in 1990. Today the agency is one of the most awarded media agencies being named Media Network of the Year in 2016 and 2015 by Campaign and Global Media Agency of the Year 2016 by AdWeek. The global media agency has over 4,000 people in their 80+ offices worldwide and is part of the Omnicom Media Group. PHD is the media agency of record for HP, Delta, Carnival, Volkswagen and Converse. Learn more about PHD here.
Merkle is a global performance marketing agency with over 25 years of experience. Headquartered in Maryland, Merkle has offices in Shanghai, London, Barcelona, Chicago, Atlanta plus 20 other locations throughout the world. Merkle was recently acquires by the Dentsu Aegis Network, and the agency delivers data-driven, technology-enabled marketing solutions to large corporations. Learn more here.
London, United Kingdom
Revenue: $591 million (est.)
Starting as a start-up advertising agency in 1970s London, Saatchi & Saatchi has grown to a global communications agency with 114 offices in 67 countries. While still the smallest of the three main advertising agencies within the Publicis Groupe network, the agency still works with six of the top 10 global advertisers. Learn more here.
RAPP is the CRM experts of the Omnicom Group. They have offices in Dallas, LA, London, Berlin, Dubai and eight other locations. Rapp’s client list includes Remington, Toyota, Ruffles, Fiat, Virgin Media and more. Learn more here.
34. Weber Shandwick
New York, New York
Revenue: $724 million (est.)
DigitasLBi was formed in 2013 when Publicis Groupe merged LBi, a marketing technology agency, and Digitas to create a digital agency that blends data with great storytelling. With a strong presence in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, DigitasLBi has produced award winning work for Disney, Playstation, Dunkin’ Donuts, Whirlpool and more. See their online portfolio here.
Edelman is the world’s biggest independent PR agency that helped define modern public relations. The agency continues to push the boundaries of what PR can do and partners with 2,000 of the world’s leading businesses, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brand and reputation. Edelman consists of 65 offices and 5,000 employees. Read more about this agency here.
South Korea’s largest advertising agency, Cheil Worldwide is more than three times the size by billings of its nearest domestic rival. The agency boast 53 offices in 43 countries with 6,200 employees worldwide. Owned by the Samsung Group, Cheil major client list includes Adidas, GE, Coca-Cola, Lego, Microsoft, Shell and more. Learn more.
Acxiom is an agency that is not as famous as the other agencies on this list, but the people-based marketing agency is a quiet giant of the industry. The agency has been leveraging technology and data for over 45 years to help clients and partners get results. Acxiom is headquartered in Conway, Arkansas with additional locations around the United States, Europe and Asia. Learn more.
Part of Publicis Media, Zenith is the ROI agency with 5,000 specialists across 95 markets. The agency specializes in communications planning, media, value optimization, technology, and data & analytics. Zenith has worked with companies like Aviva, 21st Century Fox, Mercedes, BMW and more. Learn more.
Starcom is one of the most renowned media agencies in the world and a member of Publicis Media. They call themselves the Human Experience Company because they believe the alchemy of people and technology creates experiences people love and actions brands need. Starcom is trusted by the leading brands, serving as media agency of record for Lionsgate, Lowe’s, Visa, Kraft Heinz, Wingstop and The NBA. Learn more.
The 4th biggest agency under WPP’s GroupM, MEC is a leading media agency with clients like Vodafone, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, Marriott, Chanel, GE and Xerox. The agency has over 5,000 highly talented specialists in 90 countries around the world. MEC and Maxus (number 45 of the list) will soon merge to make a new agency called WAVEMAKER. Learn more.
Xaxis is The Outcome Media Company that combines advanced artificial intelligence with data and proven expertise to optimize programmatic media investments. With 1,800 programmatic experts, Xaxis has over 3,000 clients in 47 markets across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East. Xaxis is a member of WPP’s GroupM. Learn more.
Wunderman is a global digital agency that is “Creatively Driven. Data Inspired.” A member of WPP, Wunderman was named a leader in marketing database operations and customer engagement strategy by Forrester Research for their outstanding work for clients like Microsoft, Fifa, Pantene, Nestle and more. Learn more.
Founded in 1923, Y&R is a leading global marketing communications company within the WPP network. The agency operates as a global boutique agency, connecting deep insights from local business needs and consumers united by a global team. Y&R’s client list includes RockEd, Dell, Xerox, Burger King and Movistar. Learn more.
Leo Burnett is one of the most recognized and well-known advertising agencies in the world for their long history advertising excellence. The agency was known for creating brand mascots like Uncle Ben, the Jolly Green Giant, Tony the Tiger, the Pillsbury Dough-Boy and the Marlboro Man. Today, Leo Burnett is still known as a leaders in advertising with 85 offices, more than 8,000 employees and a member of Publicis. Learn more.
Carat is a full-service media buying and planning agency that is trying to redefine media for today’s most innovative clients. The agency is consistently at the top of RECMA’s Global Qualitative Evaluation Ranking, and they service clients in 150 countries with more than 10,000 talented staff. Carat is are also the biggest agency in the Dentsu Aegis Network in terms of yearly revenue. Learn more.
J. Walter Thompson is the world’s best-known marketing agency and has been building creative solutions that make enduring brands for more than 150 years. A true global agency, JWT has more than 200 offices in over 90 countries with nearly 10,000 employees. The WPP agency is agency of record for Church’s Chicken, U.S. Marine Corps, Subway and KPMG to name a few. Learn more.
Mediacom with one of the world’s leading media company with 7,000 employees in 125 offices in 100 countries around the world. They were originally the media arm for Grey but broke off to focus on media full-time and work with companies like Mars, P&G, AB InBev, GSK and Sony. Mediacom is is part of GroupM and a member of WPP. Learn more.
OMD Worldwide is a global media agency that continues to receive praise from many publications. The agency was named “2017 Media Network of the Year” at Cannes, acknowledged as “Most Creative Media Agency” by The Gunn Report 11 years in a row, and “Global Agency of the Year 2014 & 2013” by Adweek. OMD Worldwide is a member of Omnicom Group and over 140 offices with more than 11,000 employees. Learn more.
Created in 1997, Mindshare is one of the best media buying and planning agencies in the world. The agency is part of WPP’s GroupM and consists of 116 offices in 86 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Mindshare serves as media agency of record for Pandora Jewelry, TJX, and Tyson Foods. Learn more.
Publicis Worldwide is the biggest advertising agency within the Publicis Groupe network. With offices in more than 80 countries, the advertising agency has produced great work for the likes of Cartier, Citi, Heineken, L’Oreal, Nestle, P&G and more. Learn more.
McCann is a global advertising agency that has created some of the best-known and most iconic advertising campaigns of the last century. From Coke’s “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” to Mastercard’s “Priceless” slogan, McCann continues to helps brands engage with consumers in their daily lives. Part of Interpublic Group, the agency’s client list includes GM, Aldi, Cigna, Microsoft, Verizon and more. Learn more.
TBWA is global advertising company that uses Disruption® methodologies to develop business-changing and culture-defining ideas for brands. The youngest of the three global advertising networks within the Omnicom, TBWA has 11,300 employees across 305 offices in 98 countries and has served as agency of record for Miller Lite, Airbnb, Accenture and GoDaddy. Learn more.
Hakuhodo is the second biggest agency in Japan behind Dentsu but is also the oldest agency. With over 120 years of advertising and PR experience, Hakuhodo has worked with Yahoo!, Lotte, Nissan, Tiffany & Co. and more. Hakuhodo has offices in 17 countries with over 3,000 employees working in Japan and over 2,500 overseas. Learn more.
Until Vivendi, a French mass media conglomerate, acquired Havas in 2017, the agency was one of the largest independent advertising agencies in the world. Headquartered in New York, the network brings together 11,000 experts in 76 countries and is the largest unit of the Havas Group. The agency’s client list is extensive with partners such as Air France, Pernod Ricard, Lacoste, Jack Daniel’s, Ubisoft, IBM and more. Learn more.
SapientRazorfish was created in 2016 when Publicis Groupe merged SapientNitro and Razorfish, creating a new breed of agency that leverages digital, marketing, strategy and technology to help their partners reimagine their business. They also take advantage of other agencies in the SapientRazorfish ecosystem like SecondStory, Emerging Experiences, Campfire and The Community to further help their clients. SapientRazorfish has more than 12,000 employees in 70 offices around the globe. Learn more.
BBDO is the biggest of the three main advertising agencies in Omnicom Group’s portfolio. They are considered the world’s most awarded and effective advertising agency with 15,000 employees in 289 offices across 81 countries. BBDO’s reputation domestically is well documented but their international offices are also strong examples in their local market. The agency’s list of clients include Macy’s, Visa, GE, Mountain Dew, Airbnb, Ebay, Samsung, HP and much much more. Learn more about BBDO here.
8. Bluefocus Communication Group
Revenue: $1.9 billion (est.)
Ogilvy is one of the largest advertising agencies around the world. Started in 1948 by David Ogilvy with no clients and a staff of two, the agency has grown to 450 offices in 169 cities. Ogilvy is part of the WPP Group and provides a comprehensive range of marketing services including: advertising, PR, public affairs, branding, shopper marketing, healthcare communications, and digital marketing. The advertising giants is agency of record for Nationwide, Motorola, KFC, Bacardi-Martini, Amazon and more. Learn more about Ogilvy.
Revenue: $2.2 billion (est.)
Dentsu is the largest advertising agency in Japan. The agency provides a wide range of services in eight business domains including marketing, digital, creative sphere, promotions, media, content, PR and global business. Dentsu was founded in 1901 and works with global brands like Facebook.
Dentsu is part of Dentsu Inc. agency network, which became the big agency we know today with the acquisition of British-based Aegis Group to form Dentsu Aegis Network. Dentsu Inc. is currently the 5th largest agency network in terms of worldwide revenue. Learn more here.
4. Deloitte Digital
New York, New York
Revenue: $2.6 billion (est.)
Deloitte Digital is a digital advertising agency within the Deloitte Consulting umbrella. Only six years old, the digital agency has been turning the traditional agency model on its head.
With the ability to provide everything from strategy to logistics plus branding and cybersecurity, more and more companies are choosing to work with the multifaceted agency. Deloitte Digital is just scratching the surface of their capabilities, and the agency continues to buy talent recently acquiring San Francisco-based creative shop, Heat, and the Swedish agency Acne.
PwC Digital Services is the agency arm for PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational consulting firm. With over 10,000 team members around the world, the digital agency provides services in innovation, strategy, experience, technology, insights and branding.
Adage named PwC Digital Services as one of the world’s largest digital agencies and the world’s largest mobile marketing agency in 2015. Learn more about PwC Digital Services here.
1. Accenture Interactive
New York, New York
Revenue: $4.4 billion (est.)
Accenture Interactive is the world’s largest agency based on revenue and has over 18,000 employees in 40 offices around the globe. The digital agency is a subsidiary of management consultancy, Accenture, and make up around 13% of its parent company’s total revenue.
Accenture Interactive was recently named global experience agency of record for Maserati and will handle digital strategy, advertising, content and programmatic.
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