An advertising agency
is a service business dedicated
to creating, planning and handling advertising
(and sometimes other forms of promotion) for its
clients. An ad agency is independent from the
client 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.
George Reynell, an officer at the London
Gazette, set up what is believed to be the first
advertising agency in London, United Kingdom, in
1812. 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 advertising agent in London was Charles
Barker, and the firm he established traded as
'Barkers' until 2009 when it went into
Volney B. Palmer opened the first American
advertising agency, in Philadelphia in 1850.
This agency placed ads produced by its clients
in various newspapers
produce "photographs, ambrotypes and
daguerreotypes. His ads were the first whose
typeface and fonts were distinct from the text
of the publication and from that of other
advertisements. At that time all newspaper ads
were set in agate and only agate. His use of
larger distinctive fonts caused a sensation.
Later that same year Robert Bonner ran the first
full-page ad in a newspaper.
In 1864, William James Carlton began selling
advertising space in religious magazines. James
Walter Thompson joined this firm in 1868.
Thompson rapidly became their best salesman,
purchasing the company in 1877 and renaming it
the James Walter Thompson Company, which today
is the oldest American advertising agency.
Realizing that he could sell more space if the
company provided the service of developing
content for advertisers, Thompson hired writers
and artists to form the first known Creative
Department in an advertising agency. He is
credited as the "father of modern magazine
advertising" in the US.