Methodology

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The 59th Annual Advertising Age Agency Report includes four major agency rankings: the world's top 25 advertising organizations, the leading U.S. and world ad agency "brands" and the top media specialist companies.

Three agency rankings are based on revenue: the sum of commissions on media billings, the markup on materials and services and fees. Ad Age submitted questionnaires to agencies appearing in last year's report requesting revenue and billings data that conformed to Ad Age's methodology. The questionnaire is online at http://adage.com/arq. Actual conforming data were used where received.

However, in mid-March top executives of the big agency holding companies, citing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, said they would not provide data for this year's report. Passed in July 2002, the act was designed to tighten rules on disclosure and make the books more transparent.

For the agencies that did not return the questionnaire, Ad Age used its own calculations to estimate revenue. Further, for comparison purposes, Ad Age restated the 2001 revenues of these non-reporting companies using the same Ad Age procedures.

Agency brands exclude integrated marketing specialties, healthcare or subsidiary shops. Integrated Marketing agencies will be ranked in a Special Report, May 19. Healthcare agencies are excluded from the main ranking. Revenue from media specialist companies was not included in totals for agencies owned by the leading ad organizations, unlike last year.

Ad Age does not show billings for agency brands ranked 1 through 25-21 of which Ad Age estimated the revenue. However, billings are shown for many agencies not owned by the top ad organizations.

Staff for this report

R. Craig Endicott, Kevin Brown, Scott MacDonald, Mark Schumann, Brittany Abbate, Jennie Sierra, Philip Montgomery-Fleming, Ken Wylie, Riki Jill Altman.

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