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Advertising Agencies

Updated on January 12, 2015

What Are Advertising Agencies?

Not so long ago, when the words, "advertising agency" were uttered, everyone's mind drifted back to Darren Stevens from Bewitched. If you don't know what that means, never mind, you probably weren't born yet. It's not important, anyway.

Today, creative advertising agencies do much more than they did when Darren was working for Larry Tate. Back then, I think they mostly drew on story boards and came up with catchy slogans. I may be wrong, I was pretty young myself when I watched the show.

Basically, advertising agencies work to create, execute and manage a client's advertising and promotional needs. This may include developing logos, preparing jingles or slogans, pamphlets and other sales materials, radio and TV commercial spots, infomercials, internet advertising and media, trade shows and promotional products. Some agencies go further, supplying a full menu of sales and marketing management. Customers can mix and match to meet their needs and as their budgets allow.

Clients can use an advertising agency for a single ad campaign or employee them on an ongoing basis.

How It Works

When a client chooses one of the advertising agencies to work with, the person or people assigned to their account will take the time to become better acquainted with both the client and the client's products or services. This familiarity helps to form a better ad strategy because the agency has a clearer picture of the client company's goals, ideals and missions, as well as their customer demographic and are able to put together a suitable advertising package.

The benefit of learning about a client's products is obvious. Knowing what they do, who they affect and how, will feed the agency the information they need to proceed with promoting the products to the correct target audience.

I know that this hub portrays ad agencies as brick and mortar businesses and many are, but that needn't be so. You can find an internet advertising agency or a selection of online advertising agencies by doing a few thorough searches. Remember though, to practice extreme due diligence before parting with any of your hard earned money.

What to Look For When Hiring An Ad Agency

As with all things, a word of mouth referral from someone you know and trust is the best way to start. There are a few other things to look for, as well:

* Is the agency a member of any professional organizations? There are a number of advertising associations in many countries. The ones to look for are those which govern over the practices of individual advertising agencies. The American Advertising Federation is a good example.

* Check with the Better Business Bureau to ascertain if there have been any complaints lodged against the agency that you're thinking of working with. See if you can find any ratings or reports.

* Assuming you feel reasonably confident in the agency you're considering, ask to see some samples of campaigns that they've done. It doesn't hurt to ask how successful the campaigns were. If they can supply you with time lines and figures, all the better.

* This pointer came from MSorensson: The agency should have capital to launch a project with all the investments on the person/project, without the person having to spend the money, as long as they are reasonably certain they will get their investment in full and then some. Thanks, MSorensson!

* Another good tip from Ramkkasturi:  It helps to seek an agency that can handle direct marketing, as well. Thank-you, Ramkkasturi!

A Couple of Other Points

Working with good, experienced advertising agencies can help a client realize enormous returns on their investment. However, that being said, this service is not cheap. For people and companies who can afford it though, it is typically worth every cent.

I have read that there can be a waiting period with the crème de la crème agencies but I can't really say, I don't know. It makes sense. There are only so many creative minds to work on so many creative advertising campaigns.

If you are lucky enough to take this route and trust the promotion of your business to advertising agencies, I'm sure you'll be more than pleased with the results.

© 2010 Shirley Anderson


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    • ournote2self profile image


      8 years ago

      Finding a great advertising agency isn't always easy, but once you find one it's well worth the money. I work for a great advertising agency that realy does their homework when it comes to which media to use and creating the perfect creative. :)

    • Shirley Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi, Frank. Man, it sounds like you've had an interesting time in the ad biz, profitable one, too.

      I think it's sad that an organization can harm another's business because of the dislike factor. There are always some clients you have to fire but overall, doing the best job possible for your customer (while making a profit, of course) should be the highest priority.

      Sounds like dealing with ad agencies is similar to hiring writers. I occasionally get clients who give almost no information and cannot clarify what they want. Once I'm all done, they suddenly figure out how to elaborate. Luckily, it doesn't happen very often. I think it's always prudent to arm people you hire with the tools to do a good job. Then if they don't, at least it isn't because they weren't given what they needed.

      Bravo! to you for the booming business! Helping each other certainly has its perks, doesn't it? Most people like to be of assistance, so it's nice when it comes back to you like that, congrats.

      Thank-you so much for sharing your story and giving us all an insider view of advertising agencies, I really enjoyed and appreciate it.

      Nathan, thanks!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very awesome benefits for advertising tips.....

    • profile image

      Frank O'Hara 

      9 years ago

      Yep, I've worked "with" Ad agencies but not "for" advertising agencies. They can both help and hinder your business depending on whether they like you and your company.

      Advertising agencies sometimes go off into areas where they don't have expertise. As a supplier, you can lead guide and direct them to put together a great project. In doing this, you'll develop a loyal customer and repeat business. I always try to give them a "take away" or information that will help them with their project that they didn't know or hadn't considered.

      I had one fellow that was in print advertising primarily and got a project that involved signage. That's a whole different discipline. I helped him wade through it and he rewarded me by bringing me into more than $1 million in business over the next several years. He was a fan and I profited greatly from knowing and helping him. He was humble enough to realize he didn't "know it all" and depended on me to guide him through it. It was a profitable relationship for both of us.

    • Shirley Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Umm, yeah. I think my grandma told me about Bewitched, Tracy. I'm waaayy to young to remember it myself. :-)

      I can't swear to it but I'm pretty sure that advertising and craziness go hand-in-hand. You're right, I love it but I worked in the promotional products side of advertising, helping clients build their brand that way. I actually miss it since I retired from that profession. Don't miss the craziness, though.

      It's A-Okay with me if you forward this hub to your nieces, in fact I'd be honoured, thank-you.

      Thanks so much for your comment, Tracy!

    • tracykarl99 profile image


      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Shirley, I don't really remember Bewitched that well either, (ha-ha)! Great article. You have a passion for the business. I do too, but I like to keep my distance from the craziness; that's why I like freelancing ~ Some people thrive on the craziness. My two nieces who just graduated from college want to get into advertising. Would love to forward your hub to them, it it's ok ~

    • Shirley Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Why thank-you, Aaron!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow! a complete hub from every corner. Well done. Enjoy.

    • Shirley Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Ramkkasturi, that's a great tip, thanks. I'm going to add it to the list details.

      Dugger, Wandererh, HH and LadyJane, let's agree that we all liked Bewitched but that doesn't mean we're old.

      LJ, I just can't picture Darren and Larry using computers. I'm trying, it's not working.

      Thank-you, all!

    • ladyjane1 profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      I guess I am older than dirt too because I remember bewitched very vividly as well although I was very young too(wink)anyway since I know that this hub is not entirely about bewitched I will say that you did a great job on a topic that I had no clue how they are run. I bet the ad agency on the show wouldhave gotten a lot more done with the invention of the internet aye? Anywhoo great job on this hub and cheers.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Bewitched was a great programme. Thank you for a very informative hub.

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 

      9 years ago from Singapore

      Bewitched is one of my all time favorite shows. God, I'm old!

      Oh...errr...great hub. ;)

    • dugger62 profile image

      Deborah Dugger 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      I loved bewitched and still do-lol. Excellent Hub Shirley!

    • ramkkasturi profile image


      9 years ago from India

      nice and informative article. Ad agencies now need to work harder than before as they are held responsible for results. It helps to seek an agency that can handle direct marketing as well

    • Shirley Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi, DrBJ! I liked Bewitched, as well. For the twenty years that I worked in promotional products (sometimes known as promotional advertising), people usually asked if I did the same thing Darren Stevens did in Bewitched. I didn't.

      Copywriter for a large firm? You lucky duck! That sounds exciting.

      Thanks so much for coming by to read and comment.

    • Shirley Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Zzron, thank-you.

    • Shirley Anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Excellent advice, MSorensson! Thanks for mentioning it, I'm going to add it to the list, if you don't mind.

      Thanks so much!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      Since I'm older than dirt, I do remember the TV program, Betwitched, and it was very funny. I also remember ad agencies because my first job was as a copywriter for Young & Rubicam on Michigan Ave. in Chicago. One of the most "fun" jobs I ever had.

      Thanks for your compelling hub helping me take another walk down Memory Lane.

    • zzron profile image


      9 years ago from Houston, TX.

      Thanks for the info. Great hub.

    • msorensson profile image


      9 years ago

      I agree the service is not cheap, Shirley. An idea for an ad agency, they should have capital to launch a project with all the investments on the person/project, without the person having to spend the money, as long as they are reasonably certain they will get their investment in full and then some. Thank you for the lovely and informative hub.


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