The 25 Most Important Agencies Of The 21st Century—So Far
July 25, 2017
We are living during the most dynamic times in advertising (in the broadest sense). The ecosystem is converging – agencies get involved in social media and P.R. firms produce ad content. Data is paramount. Technology has changed everything, and the duopoly of Google and Facebook has the biggest gravitational pull in the brand universe. With all these changes and upheavals, it’s not surprising that almost half of these agencies did not even exist at the turn of this century. Here are the ones that adapted and left their mark – so far:
- Wieden + Kennedy: Its “Old Spice Guy”, the perennially shirtless Isaiah Mustafa, achieved iconic pop culture status through social media.
- R/GA: It introduced “Nike+”, a software that tracks fitness data and transformed Nike from just a sneaker-seller into a consumer technology company.
- BBDO: For Snickers, it created "You’re not you when you’re hungry", a global campaign that takes a universal insight – hunger brings out the worst in us – and personifies it with celebrities.
- Edelman: The independent firm is expanding beyond its core P.R. business into the video influencer space of paid amplification and entertainment.
- Droga5: Its “Tap Project” – conceived to raise awareness of the global water crisis, added the $1 donation onto a restaurant bill.
- GS&P: Inspired by the Budweiser Clydesdales, the "Born a donkey" commercial came from the perspective of a donkey who always wanted to be a Clydesdale.
- McCann: “Fearless girl” garnered millions of free dollars’ worth of exposure, symbolizing the relevancy of women empowerment.
- Carat: They provided an invaluable level of consumer insight in support of digital channels based on research, and thus enabled future-forward initiatives.
- Grey: One of the most memorable and talked-about commercials to ever to appear in a Super Bowl was E-Trade's financially savvy baby.
- Xaxis: In the programmatic era, it is the ad industry's most comprehensive audience buying solution that combines demand-side data with technological resources.
- CP+B: Its “Subservient chicken” for Burger King was a groundbreaking marketing idea.
- TBWA: Its “Mac vs. PC,” series personified the hip Mac customer. The ads were playful and funny, but also aggressively competitive.
- 360i: When the lights went out at the Super Bowl, 360i tweeted, “You can still dunk in the dark”, for client Oreo; and, thus, invented real time marketing.
- Deutsch: Its beloved Super Bowl spot for VW featured a kid ambling about his house dressed as Star Wars' Darth Vader.
- Weber Shandwick: While its heritage is PR, it’s developing other areas of expertise, digital, social and data and analytics.
- Anomaly: Its approach to intellectual property and insights attempts to transform the boundaries in which mainstream creative agencies operate.
- Leo Burnett: For P&G’s Always, it took issue with generations of playground taunts about running, throwing or fighting "Like a girl," and won a coveted Emmy.
- 72andSunny: Its “Next big thing” campaign challenged the perception of Apple as having the latest phone technology.
- Fallon: Its “The Hire,” a web-based series of short films, told the story of a driver who transports people and cargo in his BMW.
- Alma: This award winning Hispanic shop is at the forefront and a beneficiary of the demographic shift in the USA.
- Hearts & Science: It combines data-driven analytics with media buying practices for optimization across all touch points.
- The Martin Agency: The creator of the enduring anthropomorphic posh Geico Gecko mascot.
- DDB: “Whassup,” its single-word catchphrase for Budweiser set the standard for silliness that works.
- VaynerMedia: This disruptive social media agency expanded into a full-service agency with production, media buying, and content.
- Sterling Cooper. Booze, broads and bad behavior.
Contributor: Avi Dan is CEO of Avidan Strategies. It improves agency partnerships, and manage agency search and compensation