Why Big Agency Names Aren't Nearly as Relevant as They Once Were

Many struggle with self-promotion in a rapidly changing industry


Advertising pioneers like J. Walter Thompson and Raymond Rubicam built creative empires that dominated the industry for decades. That era may be nearing its end.

Insufficient self-branding, limitations imposed by the holding company model and client-dedicated units led to the decline of once-potent agency brands. Holding companies have responded by consolidating struggling creative agencies with other offerings, a trend that shows no signs of slowing.

“It seems to me that the devaluation of agency brands and the devaluation of creativity are moving in lockstep,” Ad Contrarian blogger and BadMen author Bob Hoffman said, leading shops to attempt to be “everything at once.”

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This story first appeared in the October 22, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.