Top 15 advertising agencies to work for

Without a doubt, 2012 has been a great year for ad agencies, from gaining new ad accounts and advertising for the Olympics, to agency mergers and selling up. Here is simply a list of the top 15 advertising agencies to work for.

I’ve previously written a blog post on how to get work experience at ad agencies, so maybe this list of agencies will come in handy when deciding who to approach for your work placements (or even prospective career opportunities). So without further ado, the list:

1. Adam & Eve DDB

After a recent merge with London agency DDB, Adam & Eve have gone from strength to strength. Working with clients from Google and Volkswagon and creating work for John Lewis, with their ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ campaigns and Fosters’ ‘Good Call’ adverts, Adam & Eve should be an agency at the top of everyone’s list.

2. Mother

Without a doubt, Mother is my favourite ad agency (personally). Working with clients from Coca Cola and Ikea, to Acer (the amazing Jack Bauer adverts) and Steller Artois; transforming the brand from it’s wife beater status drink, to something more sophisticated and refined. Mother are forever pushing the boundaries of creative advertising. Any mention of Mother on a CV leaves a hard to forget impression.

3. AMV BBDO

If you’re really passionate about advertising, then AMV BBDO will be an agency you’ve heard of countless times – and for good reason. With an impressive client roster of brands from Mars, Sainsbury’s and Maltesers to Guinness and The Economist. Not forgetting EDF’s ‘Feel Better’ campaign, featuring the little “poo” character we’ve all grown to love.  There are very few agencies bigger than AMV BBDO.

4. AKQA

One of the biggest and most creative digital ad agencies around today, AKQA should most definitely be on everyone’s dream ‘to work for’ list. Claiming their name to clients such as XBox, Audi, Fiat, Nike+ and Unilever, there will be nothing but exciting projects to work on at this agency.

5. Saatchi & Saatchi

First founded in 1970 and with offices in 76 countries, there is probably no name more famous in advertising than Saatchi & Saatchi. The agency have created some the most controversial and most iconic adverts of our time. Working with clients from Toyota, Guinness and San Miguel, Saatchi and Saatchi attract nothing but the most successful of brands. The agency are also known for having one of the best graduate schemes available in the industry.

6. WCRS

Owned by the Engine Group and combing both digital and traditional advertising, WCRS have one of the biggest client rosters on this list; from Andrex, Bupa and BMW to Sky and Mini. The agency also offer great work placements and internships.

7. BBH

Creating some of the most iconic adverts of the past decade, there is no agency more prestigious than BBH. Working with clients from Google and ASOS to British Airways, if you’re looking for a name to impress on your CV, then I would say BBH is the one. Not an easy agency to get inside of; they have high standards and competition is fierce, but that makes it all the more challenging and all the more worthwhile.

8. Grey London

A brilliant agency, who have taken the industry by storm. Originally founded way back in 1917, Grey work with a huge range of clients from Honda and Hugo Boss to Samsung and Toshiba. Not only do the agency offer a fantastic internship programme, both for creatives and Account Executives, but they were also named in Fast Company’s ‘Top 50 Most Innovative Companies’. Not bad.

9. BMB

I couldn’t possibly create this list without including BMB. Creating work that’s perhaps a little more ‘safe’ in todays day and age, they are still an agency who produce client work of the highest standard and roll out an amazing graduate scheme every year. The tasks for the scheme are of a very challenging nature, but would you ever expect any less from BMB? Not far behind BBH in the ranks, BMB is another iconic agency which should be on everyones list.

10. DLKW Lowe

Entering into double figures, we start with DLKW Lowe. An impressive agency, who create even more impressive client work. They pride themselves on working with clients who have a firm base in the UK, from Unilever and Morrisons, to E.ON. Talent never goes to waste at DLKW Lowe, where juniors and graduates are welcomed and supported strongly throughout the agency.

11. Chi & Partners

Next, an agency who for some reason, I always class as a bit of an underdog. Yet they’ve created some of the most aired TV ads of the year, from the Argos ads featuring the aliens, the Anchor ‘Made by Cows’ campaign, or the ever popular British Gas ‘Your World’ adverts. But despite whether you class them as an underdog or not, there is still no doubting that Chi & Partners are an incredible agency worth your time.

12. JWT

Another name which I am more than sure (at least I hope) you know of. JWT create work for some of the worlds biggest brands; from Nestle, HSBC and and Mr Kipling, to good ole Reggae Reggae Sauce. The agency is one of most established and most popular agencies today; hosting one of the most successful annual graduate scheme and internship opportunities around.

13. Ogilvy & Mather

Without a doubt, Ogilvy & Mather is one of the most famous agencies around. Most notably thanks to Mr David Ogilvy, also known as ‘The Father of Advertising’. Surprisingly, when Ogilvy first started up his agency, he struggled to get clients. However, you would never think that today with a roster boasting names from Ford, Dove and IBM. You can’t go wrong having a name like Ogilvy & Mather on your CV.

14. McCann Erickson

Famous for creating the slogan “there’s somethings money can’t buy. For everything else there’s Mastercard” (though of course the agency is famous for much, much else), we have three times “Agency of the Year” winner, McCann Erickson. Working with clients such as L’Oreal and having just finished a large stint of advertising campaigns for the Olympics, McCann Erickson is a fantastic agency to choose to kickstart your career with.

15. TBWA

And lastly (but in no way least) we have TBWA, one of the biggest ad agencies in the list. Despite having a client list that makes most other agencies turn green with envy, they offer some of the most varied and exciting internships and graduate schemes. Most notably TBWA Youngbloods, which heavily ‘creative’ based, as opposed to most other schemes which focus more on the Account Executive side. Youngbloods alone, could be your foot into the industry world, let alone all the other opportunities they offer.

So there we have it. The top 15 advertising agencies to work for. If you’re going to consider approaching them, or applying for any of their schemes, ensure you do your homework. Learn about each agency individually, understand their style and their preferred format. Are they traditional, digital or do they dabble in a bit of both? The more you understand them and your own style, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

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