by Herman Manson. We’ve updated our annual ad agency revenue rankings to give marketers — and agency execs — an overview of the relative scale of advertising agencies in the South African communications landscape.
Agencies listed in the ranking are included based upon publicly available revenue bands, not billings, for the 2019/2020 financial year (April 2019 to March 2020). Billings is the amount of client money that flows through an agency — what you can touch but you can’t keep equals billings (eg media spend). Revenue is the money agencies get to keep and this is the number we’re looking for.
South Africa’s hard lockdown commenced in late March 2020 so most of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns will only be reflected in our 2021 survey.
- We noted a reduction in staff count at network groups
- Where agencies moved up in revenue bands, we didn’t note a corresponding upwards move in staff count
- Among the ten largest agencies and group networks, two moved into a higher revenue band, and one moved into a lower revenue band
- Out of the 49 agencies listed with revenue over R20m, 30 were BEE level 1 compliant, and 18 were BEE level 2 compliant.
- Agencies that moved down a revenue band included TBWA\ South Africa (Omnicom), Wunderman Thompson South Africa (WPP), FCB Joburg (Nahana IPG), Hellocomputer (Nahana IPG), Vizeum (Denstu Aegis Network South Africa), Promise (independent), Old Friends Young Talent (independent), iProspect (DAN SA), Flume (independent) and Posterscope (DAN SA)
- Agencies that fell several revenue bands included TBWA\Hunt Lascaris (Omnicom), HelloFCB+ (Nahana IPG), McCann1886 (Nahana IPG), Mela Events (M&N Brands) and Mullen Lowe South Africa (Nahana IPG)
- Agencies that moved up a revenue band included Publicis Groupe Africa (Publicis Groupe), 99c (independent), Grey (WPP), Clockwork (independent), FoxP2 (DAN SA) and Duke Group (independent)
- Agencies that jumped several revenue bands included NP Digital (independent), The Odd Number (independent), HaveYouHeard Marketing (independent) and Hoorah Digital (independent).
Revenue bands and staff count aren’t reliable indicators of the health of a business but they do offer important context in terms of the scale of new business an agency can take on and their relative positioning in the industry (in the categories small, medium and large).
We also list black economic empowerment (BEE) scorecard levels as this is important for clients and procurement departments. Of course, a BEE score doesn’t necessarily reflect transformation beyond ownership level but is a formalised aspect of transformation in our industry agreed upon by the MAC Charter.
The information has been sourced directly from agencies and holding companies through a survey run via MarkLives.com and via our directory service, Ramify.biz, and participation is voluntary. MarkLives hasn’t audited the figures supplied by agencies; we publish the information provided in good faith. Some agencies which participated last year have since closed down and their information isn’t included in this survey, even if they traded during the financial year in question. Others have chosen not to provide us with the data required for inclusion in this survey.
MarkLives Agency Revenue Rankings 2020
|Ogilvy South Africa||WPP||780||1||Yes|
|Publicis Groupe Africa||Publicis Groupe||1200||1||Yes|
|Nahana Communications Group||IPG||500||1||Yes|
|TBWA\ South Africa||Omnicom||486||2||Yes|
|Wunderman Thompson South Africa||WPP||500||1||Yes|
|M&C Saatchi Group SA||M&C Saatchi||350||1||Yes|
|Joe Public United||Independent||280||2||Yes|
|King James Group Africa||Independent||260||1||Yes|
|VMLY&R South Africa||WPP||223||1||Yes|
|FCB Joburg||Nahana (IPG)||174||1|
|M&C Saatchi Abel||M&C Saatchi Group SA||220||1|
|ProActive Activation Agency||Independent||115||1|
|Avatar Agency Group||M&N Brands||102||1||Yes|
|DNA Brand Architects||Independent||40||1|
|Carat South Africa||dentsu SSA||65||1|
|The Odd Number||Independent||41||1|
|John Brown Media South Africa||dentsu SSA||50||1|
|Vizeum South Africa||dentsu SSA||45||1|
|Black River Connected||Independent||25||2||Yes|
|Havas Village Johannesburg||Havas||76||1|
|MullenLowe South Africa||Nahana (IPG)||38||2|
|Creative Spark||M&C Saatchi Group SA||25||1|
|Levergy||M&C Saatchi Group SA||55||1|
|Mela Events||M&N Brands||5||2|
|Old Friends Young Talent (OFYT)||Independent||30||2|
|Roth Media Productions||Independent||18||1|
|34||King James Group Africa||22||4|
|Amnet South Africa||dentsu SSA||11||3|
|Dalmatian||M&C Saatchi Group SA||10||1|
|iProspect South Africa||dentsu SSA||20||1|
|M&C Saatchi Connect||M&C Saatchi Group SA||16||1|
|Posterscope South Africa||dentsu SSA||14||1|
|Razor PR||M&C Saatchi Group SA||6||NA|
|Fresh AF||M&N Brands||7||1|
|Kilmer & Cruise||Independent||9||4|
Table updated at 10.35am on 25 Jannuary 2021, 9.25pm on 7 January 2021 and 10.25am on 8 October 2020.