Advertising & Public Relations: Ad agencies

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Why use trade journals?

Trade journal articles usually ...

  • are written by people who work in or specialize in a particular industry / profession, but are not scholars
  • provide current news and information about the industry and the companies in it

Library resources

Paid for by the Libraries ...

About finding ad agencies

  • I need an agency that does PR in Buffalo NY ...
  • Which agency created this magazine ad?
  • What agencies does Company XYZ work with?

Finding the ad agency associated with an ad, brand, product or company is sometimes easy, but not always!

Here are some of the variables involved:



Consumer product / service B2B product / service
Company Brand
Public company Private company
Large company / brand Smaller company / brand
Agency that works for company Agency that created specific ad


The categories Easier and Harder are general guidelines only; when you have a mix of these variables, then things get interesting! 

In any case, the easy starting point is, linked immediately below.  But don't forget to search in the trade journal databases, too ... especially if you're looking for older information. Next, some problems you may encounter:

  • No information about your particular brand, only for the brand's parent company
  • Some companies employ several agencies, and there is no detail about which one does what ...
  • Some agencies specialize in particular media or functions, or in particular geographic areas

Trade journals

Here are a few journals which regularly report when there is a new contract signed between a company and an ad agency:  you'll also find occasional articles in many others. 

To do a more systematic, thorough search, use the trade journal databases.

Databases for trade journal articles

Some of these databases also contain more than just trade journal articles, some scholarly, some popular, even some newswires. But their strength is in their coverage of the trades.

Here are some tips for searching for information about ad agencies:

  • company / brand-name and agency: e.g. geico and agency
  • company / brand-name and campaign: e.g. whitewave foods and campaign
  • keywords, taglines from ad campaign:  e.g. "old spice guy", "real beauty" and dove, geico and "pulled over"