The Best Advertising Agencies in New York City – (2021 Update)

Jan 31, 2021


The Best Advertising Agencies Set Themselves Apart in Quite a Few Ways

While there are many agencies to choose from, especially in New York City, the ones that rise above the rest, are well worth the recognition they receive.

If you’re trying to figure out what makes a top ad agency deserving of such grand accolades, read on.

“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” Bill Moyers


Agencies that produce creative that is simply far out, i.e. “It’s a dancing chicken, look at me!” in an effort to stand out, fall far below the realm of what top advertising agencies contribute towards the success of their clients.

Whether it be the ideas the best ad firms bring to the table or the creative executions attached to them, the most creative advertising agencies are alchemists bringing with them exceptional creativity in a multidimensional capacity. Creative prowess needs to reach beyond the advertising produced and extend into providing brands with creative entrepreneurial solutions designed to help brands run leaner and advance quickly in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing environment.

“Creative without strategy is called ‘art’. Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising’.” – Jef I. Richards


Strategy is among the most important traits that top ad agencies possess. While it’s obvious they need to identify key targets, affinities and think long term in order to generate and sustain growth and revenue for their clients, (among other things…) firms that have their finger on the pulse of today’s social – digital ecosystem, are able to offer their clients tremendous advantages over those that are still stuck in the mindset of yelling one way messages at the world.

Social media has become among the most powerful forms of communication that ever was. Ad agencies that are able to create and execute strategies making use of this social phenomena can offer brands numerous benefits. Much in the way that we see category disruptors with little resources rise to success based on social values and contributions, big brands as well, are able to incorporate such strategies designed to align with and mobilize culture in an effort to receive the same type of explosive growth without the explosive expenses.

Many of the benefits these cultural movements or movement marketing strategies provide are directly related to earned media. Media that comes to be via recognition and organic sharing in the social atmosphere. Earned media can provide dramatic increases in media reach, more impactful media and increased brand trust, all of which can contribute significantly to growth and revenue.

Additionally, ad agencies that focus on social movement strategies can help brands dramatically reduce the high costs associated with employee acquisition and retention. This is largely due to the ever-increasing desire employees have to make their work take on meaning within society. Hence, brands that are driven by purpose can provide such fulfillment.

“Advertising is totally unnecessary. Unless you hope to make money.” – Jef I. Richards

The Big Picture

Ad agencies working in silos with regard to their services simply cannot compete in today’s environment. The best advertising agencies provide solutions rather than services and they are holistic in nature. They bring strategy, creativity, and finesse to every aspect of communications holding the best interest and goals of the brands they serve at the highest level of importance.

And while this list of the best ad agencies focuses on New York City, there are incredible companies throughout the US including Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Colorado, Dallas and more, not to mention the many outstanding agencies around the world.

See our picks for the best advertising agencies in NYC below:
1. Wieden+Kennedy

It is quite amazing and one of the best advertising agencies in the world. This company has been constantly in the top lists for over 30 years. It top-notch clients include Coke, Nike, and P&G (Old Spice).

2. StrawberryFrog

Modern, innovative, StrawberryFrog is the world’s only brand-fueled movement marketing agency. StrawberryFrog is a top NYC advertising agency, focused on marketing, communications, and design. As one of the leading ad agencies in the USA, it has worked with famous brands like Emirates Airline, Jim Beam, Pampers, Heineken and SunTrust Bank.

3. Ogilvy

It has achieved worldwide recognition in no time. This is an award-winning ad agency. It garnered the most awards in the two most important award shows, the Effie’s and Cannes Lions.


It is operating for over 100 years and is a widely reputed ad agency. It is known for its consistently good work for blue-chip clients as General Electric, AT&T, Mars, and Federal Express. This company has its branches spread across Europe and America and is always ready to take challenges in the ad industry.

5. McCann

It has created some of the best-known and most iconic advertising campaigns of the last century.

6. Mullen Lowe

A top-notch advertising agency. It has been an early adapter of social media, and is known to implement a bundled integrated model that helped it land “on-trend” clients such as Zappos, JetBlue, and Acura.

7. 72 and Sunny

This LA-based agency works for Trojan condoms, Smirnoff, LG and Johnnie Walker.

8. Deutsch

This NYC advertising agency, which also has offices in LA, is a fantastic one. It has a strong global network in parent Lowe, and is known to deliver strong work to its reputed clients like Snapple, Unilever, and Microsoft.

9. Droga5

It has been known for its creative and top notch ideas. Some of its clients are ESPN, Prudential, and Unilever.

Big Decisions

As you’re narrowing down your choices, be sure to consider which agency is going to align with your goals for growth, along with the various attributes and unique values of your brand.

If you’d like to learn more about value driven advertising and marketing with purpose, checkout the link below about movement marketing and the powerful psychology, drivers and tactics that fuel a movement strategy.

How to Narrow Down The List And Find The Top Advertising Agencies For Your Brand

1. Does the agency specialize in creating advertising within your category?

While it may not be a deal breaker, it may serve you best to consider working with an ad firm that knows the ins and outs of your vertical and has already solved the unique challenges specific to your needs. Not only could this save you a great deal of time, but they may have “cracked a code” or two from previous initiatives that could offer solid, foundational results from the get go.

2. Does the agency specialize in a certain type of creative, strategy, media type or distribution channel?

If you’re seeking an agency to create engaging creative that is comedic in nature, make sure their sensibilities are a match for your brand. Likewise, certain agencies may excel in tv vs digital or be the frontrunners of certain types of strategic initiatives. Consider the strengths in each area and how each agency might make contributions that take your brand to the next level.

3. Does the agency offer all of the services you need?

Choosing to work with an advertising company that is able to provide everything you need under one roof may make your life and the life of your team much simpler and more cost effective. The savings and reduced stress can often provide many benefits vs having to manage multiple vendors internally.

Different Types of Agencies You May Need if Not Under One Roof:

  • Brand Strategy Agency
  • Naming Agency
  • Brand Identity Agency
  • Creative Agency
  • PR Agency
  • Media Buying Agency
  • 360 Integrated Marketing Agency (Digital)
  • Production Agency

4. Would a small or large ad agency suit your needs better?

If the ad agency is too big and bloated, you may get lost in the mix and/or encounter heavy fees to help cover their overhead. Alternatively, if an agency is too small to be able to manage your needs, your account may not get the attention required. An agency that is agile and has a history of success with brands similar to your size may suit your organization best.

5. Do the agencies you’re considering share similar values with you and your organization?

Not only is it important that their values are in line with your brand, but as well, it’s important that the individuals that comprise your team feel connected with the values upheld by the agency (and work) you decide on. This can foster stronger bonds to the work generated and increase employee engagement, which can help amplify results and ROI exponentially.

6. Is the agency’s future vision of your brand aligned with yours and make sense for your brand?

Just because an ad agency has created outstanding campaigns for other brands, doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for where your brand is now, nor the direction it should head in. Much of this can only be revealed through the pitching process and getting to know one another’s unique attributes and characteristics. It’s important to keep an open mind to what others may bring to the table but also consider the legacy of your brand.

7. Who will be your primary point of contact?

Not only is It important that you feel comfortable engaging with the person that will be your primary contact but as well, that this person is easily accessible and communicates with you on a level suitable to your needs. If they have an assistant or there is a team at the agency that will be involved with your account, it’ll be important to understand this early on as well.

8. Who will be leading your initiative from the inside?

In addition to handling the account management side of things, it’ll be important to know who will be leading the various aspects associated with the creative, strategy and any other areas the agency may be handling for you. A positive, collaborative working relationship with these professionals will serve you well.

9. Will your campaigns consistently be managed and worked on by the same team members?

Sometimes it’s a good thing to have fresh eyes and new blood involved in your initiatives. However, it can also slow things down if new people need to continually be brought up to speed and it can also cause confusion as to knowing who to contact for what. Be sure to address this question early on so you get an understanding of what to expect and everyone is on the same page.

10. Is the firm currently up to date with and engaging in the latest trends associated with strategy, creative, production and technology?

An agency that combines wisdom and experience that is also on the cutting edge of current trends in strategy, creative, production and technology can amplify the results you receive by leaps and bounds. Being “in the know” of what the top advertising agencies are doing in each area can help you separate the wheat from the chaff and ultimately contribute to your success and ROI.

11. What fee structure suits your needs best?

Depending on the ad agencies you engage with, many offer different fee structures that may be based on percentages of your media buy, hourly services provided, and/or project & campaign fees – or a combination of all of the above. Consider the various aspects of each and what will work best for your brand. Make sure any grey areas are clarified prior to signing on the dotted line.

12. What contract duration would make the most sense for your organization?

The duration of the agreement with your agency will depend on the type of work being done along with historical factors of your organization and the agency. The time It takes to achieve various goals will vary. Depending on where things are from the start can significantly impact timing of expected outcome as well. Many contracts are for a year but may offer an initial trial basis that auto-renew. Each relationship should be evaluated on an individual basis.

13. How will you measure success?

An agency that creates exceptional creative may serve you well if the content receives high levels of engagement, recall and accolades of various sorts. But if the work does not increase the growth of your brand or provide an actual return on investment, your initiatives may not be providing the success you truly need. Clearly defining your goals before hand can help create a guide with which achievement can be measured and keep you and the advertising agency you choose on track.

While there are many aspects to consider when seeking the best advertising agency for your brand, the best choice for one organization will likely not be suitable for others. Consider creating a list of the unique attributes, needs and goals of your brand and expand this list to suit your organization.

By StrawberryFrog