Unique aspect advertising is the advertising agency, which, in most of the cases, makes the creative and media decisions. It also often supplies supportive market research and is even involved in total marketing plan. In some advertiser agency relationships, the agency acts quite autonomously in its area of expertise; in others, the advertiser remains involved in the creative and media decisions as the campaign progresses.

A modern agency employs three different types of people in addition to administration. The first is the creative services group, which includes copywriters, artists, and people concerned with advertising production.  This group develops the advertising campaign, prepares the theme, and creates the actual advertisements. The second is the marketing services group, whose responsibility includes media and the market research. This group contains the technical specialists – the psychologists who direct market research efforts and the operations researchers who develop the media buying models. The final major group is the client services group, which includes the account executives. The account executive is in many respects, an agency’s counterpart to a client’s brand manager, and is responsible for contact with the client.

The dominant type of agency provides a full spectrum of services, including market research, new product introduction plans, creative services, and the media purchases, and is termed as full-service agency. Alternatives to the full-service agency for large advertisers have recently appeared. Basically these involve the replacement of the large agency with smaller specialized organizations, perhaps supplemented by a greater in-house client involvement in the process. It is stimulated by the development of organizations that specialize in media purchase (such as Western International Media, or Vitt Media International, which keep about a 3 % commission) and others that provide only creative series – the “creative boutiques”. The perceived need to make advertising and media dollars work harder – by negotiating bigger media discounts by consolidating media buying and by using smaller agencies that are sometimes perceived to be more creative than the larger ones – have led to these developments. Several client companies and advertising agencies have set up subsidiaries through which media buys are consolidated, and thus made more cheaply, while medium-sized advertising agencies often turn to external media buying companies to benefit from the negotiating clout of these companies.

When companies grow worldwide, the agencies that hope to have a client’s business worldwide (or not at all) must therefore create worldwide servicing networks, by owning overseas agencies or creating partnerships with them. McCann Erickson for example now has 144 agencies in 67 countries and used to service coca cola in almost all of these markets. It even has a global account director for coca cola in New York responsible for the agency’s work on that account word-wide. Possibly the biggest change amongst the ‘recent trends’ is the perception amongst the leading advertisers that the traditional advertising agency business has not been providing the “creative spark” that some advertisers need. Some advertisers, notably coca cola, have thus begun to diversify their sources of creative talent and ideas.