Running The Agency Numbers

According to Ad Age’s annual U.S. Ad Agencies Ranked By Revenue report, 537 U.S. ad agencies reported income in excess of one million dollars last year.
I must admit I’ve always enjoyed looking at this report. It’s simple in structure, but it offers lots of things to ponder.
“Are these real numbers?” is one thing I ponder. I also like to read all the names and wonder what type of firms lurk behind them. Initials only doesn’t offer much to go on. Whereas names like Avrett Free Ginsberg or Duffy & Shanley give a hint. Then there are the creative names like Periscope and Modernista.
Naturally, I also take note of the US headquarters column. Get past New York City at the top of the list and find cities like Akron (home of Malone Advertising), Oklahoma City (home of Ackerman McQueen), Little Rock (home of Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods) and El Paso (home of Sanders/Wingo). All good candidates for AdPulp’s “Agencies in Strange Places” series.
Finally, it’s daunting to think of starting one’s own agency. At the same time, consider that 537 teams made more than a mil last year. Just in the ad agency category. There are many more agencies making good money in marketing services, digital, direct, search, promotions, healthcare, multicultural and media.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.