Inside Story: How adland sells

They are paid to sell others' brands, but how do ad agencies sell themselves? Chris Green finds out
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The Independent Online

We are fallon

Slogan: none

Top clients: Sony, BBC, Budweiser, Cadbury, Asda

They say: "We choose not to have a fixed positioning point. In an increasingly open media and creative environment, where more is possible every day, we feel that it doesn't make sense to pre-pack what we do. What we do, and how we do it, is fundamentally bespoke and about building the confidence to do something different."

JWT

Slogan: 'Time is the new currency'

Top clients: Ford, HSBC, Unilever, Nestlé, Vodafone

They say: "The power of brands can be measured in their ability to attract people's time. Time is what's most valuable to people all around the world, and the way they spend it is predictive of the way they spend their money. Our role is to ensure that more people spend more time with our clients' brands, in the knowledge that their money will follow."

DDB

Slogan: 'Co-creation'

Top clients: Volkswagen, Capital One, Epson, Exxon Mobil, Harvey Nichols

They say: "Co-creativity is a process that puts consumers at the heart of the solution. It's agnostic about where the best idea comes from – online, branded content, advertising, an event – in fact, it is increasingly likely that it is through combining all of these and more that the most creative and influential ideas will be gained."

Leo Burnett

Slogan: 'Creating ideas and building brands that truly matter to people'

Top clients: McDonald's, Kellogg's, Daz, the Learning & Skills Council, Think! (road safety campaign)

They say: "We help our clients to create well-loved brands that have a genuine role in people's lives. Our approach is driven by the belief that creativity can profoundly affect human behaviour, and that marketing communications, at its most effective, is a two-way conversation between the brand and the individual."

M&CSAATCHI

Slogan: 'Brutal simplicity of thought'

Top clients: Heinz, Porsche, GlaxoSmithKline, Halfords, RBS Group

They say: "The slogan comes from the idea that it's easier to complicate than simplify. Simple messages enter the brain quicker and stay there longer, so brutal simplicity of thought is therefore a painful necessity."

Saatchi &Saatchi

Slogan: 'Nothing is impossible'

Top clients: The Labour party, T-Mobile, Sony Ericsson, Carlsberg, Visa

They say: "From the outset the Saatchi brothers broke the rules, challenged industry norms and created work that was groundbreaking in every respect. Brands are faced with the danger of becoming commodities that lack differentiation, but we believe that bold and infectious creativity can drive loyalty beyond reason for brands."

CHI & Partners

Slogan: 'Big ideas for ambitious brands'

Top clients: Lexus, Argos, British Gas, Samsung, Toyota

They say: "The idea is to show that we offer more than just ads. We deliver big ideas that can be brought to life wherever the consumer comes into contact with the brand. These big ideas act as a platform for one strong advertising campaign after another."

BBH

Slogan: 'When the world zigs, zag'

Top clients: Audi, Levi's, British Airways, Lynx, Vodafone

They say: "Our first ad was a poster for Levi's black denim: a flock of white sheep heading one way, with one black sheep going the other way. The message captures our approach to life."

TBWA\London

Slogan: 'The disruption agency'

Top clients: PlayStation, Apple, Nissan, Galaxy, Müller

They say: "All brands have ambitions to outpace the competition, but too many go through life copying their competitors. We aim to uncover the clichés, assumptions and conventional wisdom that hold a category back, then look for opportunities for brands to grow by disrupting those conventions."

Ogilvy Group UK

Slogan: 'To be most valued by those who most value brands'

Top clients: Ford, American Express, IBM, Barclays, BT

They say: "The slogan was coined in 1993, but its roots go deeper, to David Ogilvy's belief in the power of brands, as long as they stay relevant and continually refresh their appeal. Our view is that branding is a genuinely useful concept that helps good companies defeat bad ones, so the clients we most want are those who share this belief. We don't apologise for this idealism, since the most successful brands tend to have longstanding ideals at their core, which can be dramatised in myriad ways over time."

rkcr y&r

Slogan: 'Brand energy'

Top clients: Marks and Spencer, Lloyds TSB, Bacardi, Land Rover, Oxfam

They say: "We believe that only brands with the energy to constantly delight their audience with new ideas and innovations will survive, so we're structured in a way that ensures creative energy flows as freely as possible. There are no departments, no gatekeepers between creative teams and clients, and minimal hierarchy."

Wieden + Kennedy

Slogan: 'Creating strong, provocative relationships between good companies and their customers'

Top clients: Nike, Honda, Nokia, Coca-Cola, Starbucks

They say: "We believe that great brands lead from the front. They provoke, inspire and change the cultural landscape. The most successful brands have fans, not customers, and the relationship between a brand and its fans is based on dialogue, not monologue."

Euro RSCG London

Slogan: 'Contagious ideas'

Top clients: The Conservative Party, Citroë*, Evian, Yakult, Peugeot

They say: "We live in a world where consumers can more judiciously edit what they consume, [and can] mould and reconfigure ideas relatively easily and be far more expressive to their friends, family and colleagues about what they like and don't like. Contagious ideas live beyond the space in which they first appeared by creating word of mouth, word of keyboard or media interest."

WCRS

Slogan: 'A brand's best friend'

Top clients: BMW, Sky, Abbey, Weetabix, 118 118

They say: "Our slogan was based on a very simple belief; that if we could make a brand successful, then our own success would follow. It's very focused on the client. Other agencies have a house style that they use for all their campaigns, but we believe every brand should have its own voice."

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