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The best advertising agencies in the UK

The UK’s advertising marketing is undergoing record growth, with spend expected to reach £32billion in 2022. So, how do you go about choosing your next advertising agency?

The UK’s advertising marketing is undergoing record growth, with spend expected to reach £32billion in 2022. 

That comes following 26.4% growth in 2021 - that’s according to the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report

Should the figures for 2022 be correct, the UK market will have expanded by more than a third since 2020.

So, with all that investment, which are the best advertising agencies in the UK? 

Well, first up, the “best” advertising agency for one brand or organisation, may not be the perfect fit for another. That’s why it’s worth looking through the case studies on Brands & Agencies to check out which advertising agency is right for you.

For some, the global giants will be the best, for other, a more niche, smaller agency will do the perfect job.

Globally, the big 5 ad agencies are WPP, Omnicom Group, Publicis, Dentsu and Interpublic Group. All of which have offices in the UK.

WPP

WPP owns some of the biggest names in advertising, such as Grey. Based in London, it employs more than 130k staff around the world, with revenues in excess of $17bn.

Grey works with Pringles, P&G,Volvo, Vodafone, Braun, Coca-Cola and HSBC, among many others. Over the years it’s been Global Agency of the Year twice.

Meanwhile Ogilvy was named as WARC’s most creative agency network for the second year running. The ad agency was founded by David Ogilvy in 1948 and now has 131 offices in 83 countries.

Adopt a Keg (Grey London)

Omnicom Group

Omnicom Group operates in 45 countries and points out that it has more than 180 Cannes Lions.

Its agencies include BBDO and TBWA.

BBDO’s operations the UK, including BBDO EMEA and AMV BBDO, the latter works with Ford, Meta, Guinness and Bombay Sapphire. It also did the award-winning Einstein campaign for Smart Energy GB.

Einstein - Smart Energy GB (AMV BBDO)

Elsewhere in the Omnicom Group is TBWA, its “Disruption Company.” A top 10 globally ranked advertising network in its own right. It has 11,100 staff across 323 offices. TBWA London’s client list ranges from McVities to Nissan.

Westland (TBWA Manchester)

Also within Omnicom are DDB Worldwide, including London-based Adam&Eve DDB and Tribal Worldwide 

Adam & Eve is behind Virgin Media’s latest “Skater Girl” campaign.

Skater Girl (Adam&EveDDB)

Publicis Groupe

Based in France, Publicis Groupe is one of the oldest and most established advertising groups in the world.

And as a result some of its UK operations are household names in the industry -  Saatchi & Saatchi, BBH, Fallon and Leo Burnett.

With a total group revenue of $11.39bn and global staff numbers of around 76k, its clients include GSK, BHF and Direct Line.

BT Hope United (Saatchi & Saatchi)

Interpublic

Another of the top 5 advertising agencies in terms of income, the US-based operation has a host of major brands based in the UK.

With a group turnover of just under $10bn, its network includes well known names such as McCann, MullenLowe and Momentum Worldwide.

McCann has pretty much owned Christmas in the UK over the last few years with its Kevin the Carrot campaigns.

Aldi (McCann Manchester)

Dentsu

Another global brand, Tokyo-based Dentsu, has been growing quickly in the UK, with its network here picking up Clarins, Now TV, Tesco Mobile and many more.

The group has also expanded beyond the traditional London advertising base, with a presence in Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Ireland and Stafford.

Dentsu UK

Outside of the “Big 5” group, some of the top performing advertising agencies are the likes of VCCP, which is part of Chime and Karmarama, which was acquired in 2017 by Accenture Interactive.

One agency on the growth curve is New Commercial Arts. The agency was formed in 2020 by James Murphy and David Golding, previously of adam&eve DDB. It's since won accounts from MoneySuperMarket, Halifax, Vodafone and Sainsbury's.

MoneySuperMarket (NCA)

For more inspiration, check out the case studies on our Agencies page.