Agency head count growth up 3.1% at core

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The agency brand is the core agency reported in the top 30 ad agencies by employment. It is the traditional ad agency stripped of its specialty subsidiaries that most generally operate independently.

The consolidated agency column merges the agency core with specialty shops not included in the core.

Ad Age filters out the impact of acquisitions on base-level growth by treating purchases and divestitures as if they were on the books two consecutive years. This requires adjusting prior-year figures, ususally at the consolidated level.

Not given pro forma treatment are internal agency adjustments when business units are shifted from core to consolidated. Classic example is a media-buying unit that moves from departmental status to independent status as its client base shifts outside the agency. Grey Advertising's MediaCom media-buying operation, moving in such a manner, effected a drop of 24.3% in employment at the Grey core.

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