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.


List movement

  • 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).


Key points

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 and via our directory service,, 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


Network/ independent

Staff count

BEE level

Group figure


Incubeta Independent 146 2 Yes
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


99c Independent 356 4 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


TBWA\Hunt Lascaris Omnicom 135 1
Tradeway Promotions Independent 84 1


Avatar Agency Group M&N Brands 102 1 Yes
DNA Brand Architects Independent 40 1
Grey Africa WPP 115 1


Clockwork Independent 100 2
Demographica Independent 40 1
NP Digital Independent 28 2 Yes


FoxP2 dentsu SSA 55 1
Grid Worldwide Omnicom 51 1


Carat South Africa dentsu SSA 65 1
Hellocomputer Nahana (IPG) 65 1
HelloFCB+ Nahana (IPG) 90 1
The Odd Number Independent 41 1


HaveYouHeard Marketing Independent 44 2
John Brown Media South Africa dentsu SSA 50 1
McCann1886 Nahana (IPG) 51 2
MetropolitanRepublic WPP 50 1
Vizeum South Africa dentsu SSA 45 1


Black River Connected Independent 25 2 Yes
Duke Group Independent 71 1 Yes
Eclipse Communications Independent 58 1
Havas Village Johannesburg Havas 76 1
Hoorah Digital Independent 40 2
Penquin Independent 43 2
Promise Independent 70 2


Conversation LAB Independent 55 2 Yes
Flume Independent 55 2
Jellyfish Independent 70 2
MullenLowe South Africa Nahana (IPG) 38 2
Rogerwilco Independent 50 2


Boomtown Independent 45 2
Creative Spark M&C Saatchi Group SA 25 1
Just Palm Independent 20 1
Levergy M&C Saatchi Group SA 55 1
Mela Events M&N Brands 5 2
Old Friends Young Talent (OFYT) Independent 30 2
Retroviral Independent 12 2
Roth Media Productions Independent 18 1


Ebony+Ivory Independent 16 1
34 King James Group Africa 22 4
3Verse Independent 20 2
Abnormal Independent 12 2
Amnet South Africa dentsu SSA 11 3
Dalmatian M&C Saatchi Group SA 10 1
Harambee Communications Independent 8 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
SoulProviders Collective Independent 25 4
TinFish Advertising Independent 18 4

Under R10m

Brandfundi Independent 3 4
Creative Coffee Independent 7 1
Fresh AF M&N Brands 7 1
Kilmer & Cruise Independent 9 4
Retroactive Independent 1 1

Table updated at 10.35am on 25 Jannuary 2021, 9.25pm on 7 January 2021 and 10.25am on 8 October 2020.


Herman MansonHerman Manson is the founder and editor of He is also the founder of and the co-founder of


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