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Advertising agency

An advertising agency is a service based business dedicated to creating, planning, and handling (and sometimes other forms of promotion) for its clients. An ad agency is generally independent from the client (it may be an internal department or even an internal agency) and provides an outside point of view to the effort of selling the client's products or services. An agency can also handle overall marketing and branding strategies and sales promotions for its clients.

Typical ad agency clients include businesses and corporations, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Agencies may be hired to produce television commercials, radio commercials, Online Advertising, out of home advertising, Mobile Marketing and as part of an advertising campaign.


The first acknowledged advertising agency was William Taylor in 1786. Another early agency, started by James 'Jem' White in 1800 at Fleet Street, London, eventually evolved into White Bull Holmes, a recruitment advertising agency, that went out of business in the late 1980s. In 1812 George Reynell, an officer at the, set up another of the early advertising agencies, also in London. This remained a family business until 1993, as 'Reynell & Son, ' and is now part of the TMP Worldwide agency (UK and Ireland) under the brand TMP Reynell. Another early agency that traded until recently, was founded by Charles Barker, and the firm he established traded as 'Barkers' until 2009 when it went into Administration.

Volney B. Palmer opened the first American advertising agency, in Philadelphia in 1850. This agency placed ads produced by its clients in various newspapers.

In 1856 Mathew Brady created the first modern advertisement when he placed an ad in the New York Herald paper offering to produce "photographs, ambrotypes and daguerreotypes." His ads were the first whose typeface and fonts were distinct from the text of the publication and from that of other advertisements. At that time all newspaper ads were set in agate and only agate. His use of larger distinctive fonts caused a sensation. Later that same year Robert E. Bonner ran the first full-page ad in a newspaper.

In 1864, William James Carlton began selling advertising space in religious magazines. In 1869, Francis Ayer, at the age of 20, created the first full service advertising agency in Philadelphia, called N.W. Ayer & Son. It is the oldest advertising agency in America. James Walter Thompson joined Carlton's firm in 1868. Thompson rapidly became their best salesman, purchasing the company in 1877 and renaming it the James Walter Thompson Company. Realizing that he could sell more space if the company provided the service of developing content for advertisers, Thompson hired writers and artists to form the first known Creative Department in an advertising agency. He is credited as the "father of modern magazine advertising" in the US.

Global Advertising Agency[edit]

Globalization of advertising originates in earlier days of the twentieth century. American advertising agencies began the process of opening overseas offices before the two World Wars and accelerated their globalization throughout the latter part of the twentieth century.

The agency McCann Erickson, an agency established in New York City in 1902, opened its first European offices by 1927. It was followed up with offices opening in South America in 1935 and in Australia in 1959.

Companies such as J. Walter Thompson adopted a strategy to expand in order to provide the advertising services wherever clients operated.

In the 1960s and 1970s, English agencies began to realize the overseas opportunities associated with globalization. Expanding overseas gives potential to wider markets. Saatchi & Saatchi, perhaps one of the most iconic English agencies was founded in 1970 and rapidly developed a global network of offices on the back of relationships with clients such as British Airways and Toyota.

In America the advertising industry in contemporary globalization is unique, advertising is an archetypal service industry that needs to cater to the new consumer society. The American society changed throughout the twentieth century into the twenty first century and agencies adapted to new consumer society. The industry has changed over time to channel modern expectations in order to influence consumers.

New York City the iconic centre of global advertising. Six of the top 10 global advertising agencies were founded in New York City during the twentieth century. This was primarily a result of the city’s role as a centre of manufacturing which meant that advertising industry would be benefited because there were a range of local clients seeking advertisements for their consumer goods. The influence of agencies and manufacturers turned New York into the global centre of advertising.

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