It’s that time of the year again. Dear marketing students, university programmes are drawing to a close, it’s time to say goodbye to friends, one-night stands, junk food and start looking for a real job. In a world where advertising is dominated by the three mega-corporations WPP, Omnicom and Publicis, is there still space for good old-fashioned independent agencies?
Hell yeah. It’s a Declaration of Independence started on Madison Avenue and then moved to Soho and East London. Indie agencies don’t fear the giants.
Take a look at our list of the top 10 London independent creative agencies.
10. The Corner
In the very heart of Soho there exists a corner where “people meet and things happen”. Great things, judging from this highly emotional advert for Chelsea Football Club:
BMB (or Beattie McGuinnes Bungay) may not have a super-long work portfolio, but they certainly know how to make fantastic ads. This one for All Saints is my favourite, as it’s perfectly able to capture the coolness of the brand in just about 60 seconds.
8. Gyro London
Tucked in a back street of South Chelsea lies the London office of Gyro, an independent advertising agency with a highly effective approach towards challenges. Check out this impressive PR campaign for Hobart:
This all-British independent creative agency has only two offices, one in East London and one in Birmingham. Despite being quite young, Krow already has an impressive list of clients, including Unilever, Paypal and Fiat. This is a crowd-sourced ad for Pets at Home, a mixture of babies and pets that we are pretty sure will melt your heart.
With a massive ping-pong arena and a ping-pong tournament hosted every year, Karmarama is an independent advertising agency that certainly boosts an amazing working environment. But it’s not just play and no work: this campaign for Bombardier helped the brand to improve the sales by a whopping 30%.
‘To make great work, have fun and make a living. Always in that order.’ We love your motto Mother. And we love your campaigns as well. Take a look at this hilarious and bonkers ad for Piri Piri Noodles.
4. Don’t Panic
Don’t Panic is like the punk-rocker of the independent agencies. A mixture of humour, art and controversial messages that soon created an icon of London counter-culture. They also have a super-cool online magazine. The agency is responsible for some of the most viral advertisements ever, including this Cannes Lion Winner video for Save the Children.
Things start getting much bigger here. Droga5 is a massive independent advertising network that, despite being Manhattan-based, deserve a place on this list thanks to their impressive list of clients and awesome campaigns (and yeah, they have their office in Soho as well). My personal pick is this great transmedia storytelling campaign for Bing and Jay-Z, that has become a best practice and an example for all creative agencies.
2. Wieden + Kennedy
Nike, Tesco, P&G. These are just some of the clients of this impressive independent advertising network with offices in Europe, Asia and the US. W+K London produced this famous and highly emotional ad for P&G that helped position the brand as a “Proud Sponsor for Mums” in 2012.
1. M&C Saatchi
The agency was founded in 1995 by Maurice and Charles Saatchi after they were “removed” from Saatchi&Saatchi. Now the company is a huge advertising network, listed on the London Stock Exchange and with 25 offices all over the world. Despite being highly international, the group manages to maintain a certain ‘UK vibe’, with an amazing office overlooking Golden Square in Soho and a series of key UK clients, including Transport for London, GlaxoSmithKline and NatWest. The motto “Brutal Simplicity of Thought” dominates the walls of their London office, a clear commitment to effectiveness and measurable results. This shocking advert for THINK!, with its overwhelming simplicity, will certainly make you think twice about road safety.