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How to choose an advertising company

How to Choose An Advertising Agency


Your agency is one of your most important partners and great care should be taken in the selection.  The AAAN has put this together to guide you through this time consuming process, and help you do it professionally.

Deciding the type of Agency you need

  • Agencies are unusual collections of bright lateral-thinking people supported by technology.
  • The product they create is conceptual, and seeks to present you brand to its market in a new and compelling way.
  • It is vitally important that you establish a human relationship with Agency people – a partnership.  You will get more and better ideas if you do.

Weighing up an Agency’s character

Think about both the character, and the functional delivery of the Agency.

Different character attributes

  • Aggressive, considered, proud, reactive, innovative, stable, exciting, loud, conservative, youthful, fun, modern, traditional, established.

Different functional attributes.

  • Strategic strength, tactical speed, creative flair, media competence, production know-how, through-the-line ability, technical accuracy, financial acumen, international/regional network.

Researching the Market

  • Call for a list of accredited agencies
  • Sift through and shortlist about five or more for a CREDENTIALS PRESENTATION (This allows for the opportunity to see the agency’s work and show reel, and to ask questions which help to determine fit and chemistry).
  • Visit as many as you want.  Walk around the building.  Meet the people.
  • Ask about depth of resource, and any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Prepare a maximum shortlist of three agencies.
  • The more the number the harder the final decision.

Briefing your shortlist

  • Decide what you want them to prove to you.  This is best done by setting a specific task:  asking for “an advertising plan for next year” will not produce as satisfactory a result.
  • Offer a pitch fee as a recognition of the work you are expecting.

Guidelines for the presentations

  • Give the Agencies a minimum of two weeks, and up to four weeks to respond on a more complex problem.  Keep the ‘judging panel’ in your company as small as possible, and to individuals of similar status.
  • Involve people with a genuine interest in the outcome.  Make sure they understand the brief and agree with it.
  • Avoid ‘tick boxes’, give the panel freedom to react on an emotional and rational level, in their own words.
  • Receive no more than two presentations per day.

Judging the presentations

Suggested discussion guide for the panel

  • Did they answer the brief?
  • Do they have intellectual depth?
  • Do we think their proposal will work?
  • Are their costs fair?
  • Can we work with these people (what will it be like)?
  • Are there any issues we would like them to clarify?

Try to maintain the confidentiality of the debate, and its result.