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An advertising agency is a service based business dedicated to creating, planning, and handling advertising (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 AR Advertising as part of an advertising campaign. 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.

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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 London Gazette, 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.” At that time all newspaper ads were set in agate and only agate.

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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.

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.

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. Agencies adapted well.

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Studies show that successful advertising agencies tend to have a shared sense of purpose with their clients through collaboration. This includes a common set of client objectives where agencies feel a shared sense of ownership of the strategic process.

Successful advertisements start with clients building a good relationship with the agencies and work together to figure out what their objectives are. Clients must trust the agencies to do their jobs correctly and accordingly with the resources they have provided.

Breakdowns in relationships were more likely to occur when agencies felt undermined, subjugated or even feel they don’t have an equal status. Traditionally advertising agencies tend to be in a position to take the lead on projects but better with more collaborative relationship.

Stronger collaboration happen in situations where a personal chemistry has been established between both parties. Finding out similar likes and dislikes, point of views and even hobbies and passions. Personal chemistry builds with the client relationship.

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