Advertising Agency – Role, Importance, Types and Examples

Published by: Shivendra Tiwari

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An advertising agency is an advertisement service provider because it is specialized in ad planning, creation, management, and promotion. As a service provider, an advertising agency is responsible for executing advertising programs for clients.

Creating vibrant advertisements to attract traffic can consume a good amount of time and effort. Also, it requires a creative mind to think out of the box. This is where the ad advertising agencies come into existence. These agencies help their clients in creating appealing and engaging ads that can help the clients in grabbing the attention of their customers and converting them into potential buyers.

What is an Advertising Agency?

Definition: An advertising agency is defined as an ad agency or creative agency that is engaged in creating and managing ads and other marketing strategies for clients. Apart from just managing the advertisements, these ad agencies may also involve in the handling of branding and marketing strategies for the client that is directly related to sales.

Today there are so many advertisement options available such as ads on the television radio, on the web, and many others. These ad agencies offer diverse options so that the clients can get the exact one that they require. These ad agencies work for individual business houses, corporates, or even non-profit organizations to help them with the advertisements and promotions.

History of Advertising Agency

William Taylor is known to be one of the first advertising agencies that were set up in the year 1786.

James ‘Jem’ White also started an agency in the year 1800 in London that came to be known as White Bull Homes but unfortunately went out of business by the year 1980s.

Another agency was set up once again in London by the London Gazette officer George Reynell in the year 1812. This agency soon became a family business under the brand name Reynell & Son.

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Soon, it became a part of the TMP Worldwide agency and was renamed TMP Reynell. Recently, Charles Barker established an agency that was known as Barkers till the year 2009.

The first American Advertising Agency was opened in Philadelphia in the year 1850 by Volney B. Palmer. The agency mostly posted ads in various newspapers.

It was Mathew Brady in the year 1856 who used modern advertising by posting ads on newspapers with different fonts and typefaces. The use of bold font created sparks while sometime later, Robert E. Bonner created a whole page ad in one of the newspapers.

William James started the concept of advertisement spaces in magazines in 1864. Soon, a 20 years old Francis Ayer started a complete advertising agency in Philadelphia in 1869 and named it N.W. Ayer and Son.

James Walter Thompson came in association with the firm of Carlton in 1869 and soon purchased the firm in 1877 to name it James Walter Thompson Company.  It was his idea later to create a team and start the very first Creative Department for any advertisement agency.

It was due to his great contributions that he is now known as the Father of Modern Magazine Advertising. It was in the year 1964 when advertising turned 100.

Importance of an Advertising Agency

The most important thing about an ad agency is that it has a team that consists of almost everyone who can offer you a perfect advertisement such as jingle writers, print ad managers, videographers, managers, online advertisers social media advertisers, and many others.

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Any ad agency will have these salient features:

  1. It is loaded with social contacts
  2. Knows how to use any resources efficiently
  3. Quality work
  4. Cost-efficient

In addition to these, advertising agencies play the following roles for businesses or brands to optimize their presence, communications, and conversions-

  1. Creating ads that rotate around the actual product
  2. Notes down reactions of the customers over the ad
  3. Deciding upon the time and types of media to roll the creative
  4. Accumulating feedback from customers and clients

Now most companies can have their team of creative developers to get the work done but there other specific reasons to hire ad agencies such as-

  1. The ad agencies are experts and they have diverse experience in this field.
  2. They have a team of copywriters and contacts of actors to outsource too.
  3. They are professionals in their field.
  4. Hiring them can somehow save time and money so that the client can focus on other essential tasks at the same time.

Working of an Advertising Agency


Ad agencies can work for different clients such as small business houses, corporates, and even non-profitable organizations. They try different strategies for different options to get the best results accordingly.

The whole process is quite systematic where the experts first pitch a campaign and when the client approves it, they start their creative work to soon distribute it.

1. Pitch

Usually, ad agencies work with clients on a long-term basis. But when they are actually about to contact a client, it all started with the pitch.

There are several ways how they contact the right clients and one of the major ways is by identifying those organizations that are currently in need of an advertising agency. Once identified, they choose one influential member of the organization and pitch by sharing an email or a letter with the agency’s portfolio.

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2. Presentation

It is only after the client shows interest in the pitch that the ad agency gets an appointment to show a presentation. This presentation usually depends upon several factors such as most importantly the amount of interest that the client has shown.

If the client has shown a good amount of interest then the agency can simply share a presentation about their plans for the client. But if the client is still unsure then the agency has to work a bit such as showing the showing how they have worked with past clients and have provided successful campaigns and so on.

3. Assessment

When the client has finally taken the ad agency on board, the actual task of the agency starts initiating with assessment. The advertising agency has to know in detail about the client such as what is the market reputation of the company, the market shareholdings, and others.

The advertising agency can also talk to the client about their goals and business plans to understand the in-depth of the business. It is only after such assessment that the agency decides upon the type of creatives to be offered and the deadline that they require for the whole process.

4. Creative

Soon, the creative team of the agency starts planning a creative such as a TV ad, or a website popup ad, and others so that the work can start. These creative experts are usually the permanent employees of any agency.

Moreover, other teammates such as the actors or the videographers are outsourced depending upon the demand and requirements of the creative. The creative team provides customized content, video, design, production, etc services as per the specific requirements of clients and popular global standards.

5. Rollout

Next, the media buyer of the agency will buy space in newspapers or on different websites to roll out the advertisement. It is essential to roll out the advertisement in different places such as TVs, newspapers, and others so that the customers can get information from different places.

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Of course, the number of places where the ads have to be rolled out also depends upon the amount that the client is ready to spare and invest.

Types of Advertising Agency

There can be 5 different types of advertising agencies to go for.

1. Full-Service Agencies

A full-service advertising agency incorporates the following features-

  1. Large in size
  2. Controls all the advertisement stages
  3. Have a team of experts from diverse departments
  4. Handles everything from start to end that is from gathering data to making payments to the media houses.

2. Interactive Agencies

Notable highlights of such an advertising agency are-

  1. Use of modern communication mode
  2. Online advertisements and other digital activities
  3. Ads are interactive, innovative, and have new concepts

3. Creative Boutiques

Key things about the creative boutiques advertising agency are-

  1. Creative and innovative ads
  2. Main focus on just creating ads
  3. Small in size but with a team of copywriters and other creatives

4. Media Buying Agencies

Some of the facilities that will be delivered by media buying advertising agency are-

  1. They deal in buying space for advertisements
  2. They sell out the spaces for advertisements to different advertisers
  3. Deals with scheduling slots of ads on TV and other platforms
  4. Supervises the telecasting of the ads on the mentioned platforms

5. In-House Agencies

The salient features of an in-house advertising agency are-

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  1. Equivalent to the ad agencies
  2. Favorites of most of the big organizations
  3. They work according to the organization’s requirements

Apart from these, some special agencies work only focussing on some special advertisement types. Such special advertisement types include social message ads, ads related to medicines, and so on.

Advertising Services of an Ad Agency

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Some of the most important services offered by an ad agency are here:

1. Integrated Ad Service

Offers a list of services such as research, planning, designing, development, media selection, and then execution of the creative.

Hence, the menu of an advertising agency generally includes all the key services essential for running conversion-driven ads as per industry or niche-specific requirements.

2. Integrated Media Service

Serves as a medium between the advertisers and the media.

An ad agency can offer services associated with print media, digital media, or electronic media as per the needs of the clients.

3. Marketing Services

Offers several marketing solutions that include market research, campaigning, public relation, social media planning, sales promotion, analytics, and others.

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Optimizing the marketing and advertising performance to boost lead generation, conversions, and sales is one of the key services of an advertising agency.

4. Content Services

Deals in content for diverse options such as TV programs, different events, and also for entertainment purposes.

All kinds of content marketing needs are handled by advertising agencies.

5. E-solution

Offers different e-solutions such as search engine marketing, e-sales promotion, system integration services, and similar others.

Modern advertising agencies offer all the digital advertising services.

6. Integrated Branding Service

Makes sure to offer branding services of the highest quality to the clients.

Making a branding strategy for a brand or project like logo design, campaign tag lines, slogans, etc are also key services of an advertising agency.

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Examples of Successful Advertising Agency

1. Ogilvy & Mather

It is one of the most popular New York NY City-based advertising agencies that is also popular for its marketing, and public relations services. It was founded in 1850 in London by Edmund Mather but in the year 1964, it became Ogilvy & Mather after merging with a New York City agency founded by David Ogilvy in 1948. Some of its popular ad campaigns are Dove (Empowering Idents), Honda (Stay Home), Cadbury (Twins), etc.

2. MullenLowe U.S.

It was founded by Jim Mullen in Boston in the year 1970. It is known for being one of the pioneers in using social media that has empowered it to have some of the most influential clientele in the century. Some of its ad campaigns are Vivo (#snapdragon), Etihad (Get to the US quicker), Magnum (Game of Spoons), etc.

3. McCann Worldgroup

It is a global advertising agency network that has its offices in 120 countries. McCann Worldgroup is a subsidiary of the Interpublic Group of Companies, and some of the popular ad campaigns include L’Oreal Paris (The Non Issue), Yatra (Budget Travels), etc.


On the concluding note, it is clear that an advertisement agency deals with several functions to run ads and optimize brand or business presence. Some of the notable functions of an advertising agency are-

  1. Understanding the message of the client and converting it into a proper advertisement
  2. Increasing sales through proper ads
  3. Offering professional and quality service
  4. Creating public awareness efficiently about a product or service
  5. Accumulating feedback on the ad to gain ideas about improvement in the future

What are your thoughts about the effectiveness of an advertising agency in running ads and optimizing lead generation, conversions and sales?

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Shivendra Tiwari

Shivendra Tiwari is an Engineer by education, writer by Profession, and Online Marketing Enthusiast by Passion. He loves researching and writing meaningful articles on subjects of Marketing, Digital Marketing and Management