6 Best Advertising Agencies in Chicago 

6 Best Advertising Agencies in Chicago 

Discover Chicago's elite advertising agencies of 2024. Learn about their success stories and what distinguishes them.
Best Advertising Agencies Chicago

Advertising is an essential aspect of any business, regardless of its size or industry. In today’s competitive market, choosing the right advertising agency is crucial for any business looking to stand out and gain a competitive advantage. With numerous advertising agencies in Chicago, it can be overwhelming to select the best one for your business needs. This blog post aims to provide you with a comprehensive guide to choosing an agency, and a list of the top advertising agencies in Chicago, including their services, client portfolio, and expertise, to help you make an informed decision when choosing an agency that aligns with your business goals and budget.

Is Chicago Known for Advertising?

Chicago is well-known for advertising and it has a long history in the industry. In fact, Chicago is often considered one of the major advertising hubs in the United States, alongside New York and Los Angeles. The city has been home to many well-known advertising agencies and digital marketing agencies over the years, including some of the largest and most influential agencies in the world, such as Leo Burnett, FCB, and Ogilvy. Many of these agencies have a strong presence in Chicago and have contributed to the city’s reputation as a center for advertising and marketing. 

Chicago’s rich history in advertising dates back to the early 20th century, when it became a hub for print advertising and the birthplace of some of the first advertising trade associations. Overall, Chicago’s deep roots in advertising and marketing, combined with its strong talent pool and diverse economy, make it a major player in the advertising industry. 

How Much Does it Cost to Work With an Advertising Agency?

The cost of working with an advertising agency varies widely depending on several factors such as the size of the agency, the scope of the project, the level of expertise required, and the type of services needed. According to industry estimates, the average cost of working with an advertising company can range from $1,000 to $10,000 per month for small businesses, while larger companies can expect to pay upwards of $50,000 per month or more. It’s important to note that these are just estimates. The actual cost will depend on many factors specific to each project and agency. 

For example, a small local agency may charge lower rates than a larger multinational agency with a global presence and higher overhead costs. Similarly, a comprehensive advertising campaign that includes multiple channels and requires extensive research and planning will cost more than a simple one-off project like designing a logo or creating a social media post.

Most advertising agencies charge clients on a project basis or a retainer basis. A project fee is a one-time cost for a specific project, such as creating a new website or designing a marketing campaign. A retainer fee is an ongoing fee for regular services, such as social media management or content creation. 

What are the 5 Types of Advertising Agencies?

There are several different types of advertising agencies, each with their unique focus and specialization. Here are the five common types of advertising agencies. 

  1. Full services agencies: Full services agencies offer a wide range of advertising and marketing services, including branding, creative development, media planning and buying, email marketing and digital marketing. They are capable of managing all aspects of a client’s advertising needs, from concept to execution.
  2. Creative boutiques: Creative boutiques specialize in developing unique and compelling creative concepts for clients. They may offer a narrower range of services compared to full service agencies but often excel in delivering highly creative and innovative campaigns. 
  3. Digital agencies: A digital agency specializes in digital marketing and advertising, including website design, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and online advertising. They focus on using digital channels to reach and engage audiences.
  4. Media buying agencies: Media buying agencies specialize in media planning and buying, helping clients identify the best channels and platforms for reaching their target audiences and negotiating the best rates for advertising space. 
  5. In-house agencies: In-house agencies are internal marketing teams within a company or organization. They work exclusively on developing and executing marketing campaigns for their own company rather than serving external clients. In-house agencies may offer a range of services, from creative development to media planning and buying, depending on the size and scope of the organization. 

How Do I Choose the Advertising Agency That’s Best for Me?

When it comes to choosing the best advertising agency for your business, there are several key criteria to consider. Here are the top factors you should evaluate when making your decision:

  1. Industry reputation: An advertising agency’s reputation in the industry is a strong indicator of their capabilities and quality of work. Research the agency’s reputation by reading reviews, case studies, and client testimonials. 
  2. Client portfolio: Reviewing an agency’s client portfolio can help you understand their areas of expertise and the industries they have experience working in. This information can be useful in determining whether the agency is a good fit for your business. 
  3. Overall performance: Evaluating an agency’s overall performance can help you gauge their ability to deliver results. Look for information about their record of success, the metrics they use to measure success, and how they report progress to clients. 
  4. Services offered: Different advertising agencies offer different services. Before choosing an agency, make sure they offer the services you need to achieve your goals. Common services offered by advertising agencies include branding, creative design, media planning and buying, digital marketing, social media management, and public relations.
  5. Team expertise and experience: The team working on your account is critical to the success of your advertising campaign. Consider the agency’s team’s expertise and experience in your industry or niche. Additionally, evaluate the team’s creativity, communication skills, and project management abilities. 
  6. Budget and pricing: Advertising agencies charge different rates for their services, and pricing can vary, as we discussed above. Before choosing an agency, consider your budget and whether the agency’s pricing aligns with your financial goals.

What are the Best Advertising Agencies in Chicago?

Let’s take a look at some of our top choices for Chicago ad agencies. Again, the best agency for you depends on a variety of factors, so make sure to do your due diligence before choosing your agency. 

1. NoGood

NoGood logo

NoGood is an acclaimed marketing agency with a steadfast commitment to sustainable growth. Their exceptional track record in the industry has earned them a reputation as one of the top marketing agencies. What sets NoGood apart is their pioneering approach to growth hacking, performance branding, and creative marketing methodology. With an impressive clientele portfolio that includes major brands like Nike, TikTok, and P&G, as well as startups like Ghostery, Invisibly, and JVN, NoGood has a proven track record of delivering successful outcomes while saving their clients significant costs. By seamlessly blending the art of creativity with the science of performance, NoGood has set a new standard in the industry. 

NoGood noteworthy traits:

  • Specialize in marketing for long term growth
  • Have helped companies like Lark Suite, ByteDance’s collaboration software company, break into the US market
  • Work in tailored growth squads to help you achieve rapid, consistent growth
  • Experimentation approach that educates customers and builds trust in your brand

Here’s what Kevin Martin, CTO of Unspun, had to say about their experience working with NoGood:

From our experience, we really felt like we had one generalist absolute world-class expert quarterbacking things from the NoGood side, and then they had the ability to loop in specialists as needed, which was a very powerful combo.”

Case Study: NoGood achieved a 2960% WoW increase in app installs, and an 84% increase in organic website traffic for Invisibly. They have also worked with many startups, scaleups, and Fortune 500 brands such as TikTok, Nike, Amazon, Intuit and more. Check out NoGood’s growth stories and successes.

Headquarters: New York; offices around the world

Year Founded: 2016 New York, NY

Team Size: 50+ employees

Key Services: Growth marketing framework, idea validation, rapid experimentation, landing page building, competitor & market analysis, performance branding, customer persona research, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content marketing, performance marketing, email marketing, ad creative, attribution reporting, display, CRO, SEM

Industries Served: B2B, consumer, fintech, SaaS, retail, healthcare, crypto

2. Leo Burnett Chicago

Leo Burnett logo

Leo Burnett Chicago is a globally recognized advertising agency with a strong presence in Chicago. The agency was founded in 1935 by Leo Burnett, who believed in the power of “creating acts, not just ads.” Today, the agency has a reputation for delivering groundbreaking campaigns that make a lasting impact. What sets Leo Burnett Chicago apart is their ability to create emotionally resonant campaigns that connect with consumers on a personal level. Their work is known for being clever, creative, and authentic, often leveraging cultural insights. Some of their key clients include Allstate, McDonald’s, Samsung, Kraft, and Kellogg’s. Leo Burnett Chicago won Agency of the Year 2022.

Noteworthy traits: 

  • The agency has won numerous awards for their work, including Cannes Lions, Effie Awards, and Webby Awards
  • Leo Burnett is recognized as one of the best places to work in Chicago, with a collaborative work environment that encourages creativity and innovation
  • Leo Burnett is valued for its ability to deeply understand consumer behavior and create compelling campaigns that resonate with target audiences

Here’s what Britt Nolan, COO of Leo Burnett, had to say about the company:

One of Leo Burnett’s great strengths is that we have the firepower and diversity of talent to make anything you can imagine. When we’re nimble, open-minded, and collaborative, we’re the best in the world. 

Case study: Leo Burnett designed an ingenious campaign for Samsung that effectively highlighted the water-resistant feature of their new tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. Dubbed “Surf the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Surfboard,” the campaign partnered with surfer Gabriel Medina to create a customized surfboard equipped with a tablet holder, allowing him to use the tablet while surfing. The creative and attention-grabbing campaign garnered extensive media coverage, creating substantial buzz around the Samsung brand and ultimately led to increased brand awareness and sales. Check out more of their case studies

Office location: Chicago, IL

Year founded: 1935

Team size: 9,000+ employees

Key services: Brand strategy, creative development, shopper marketing, digital marketing, and retail design

Industries served: Consumer goods, retail, automotive, technology, healthcare, financial services, and more

3. Cramer-Krasselt

Cramer-Krasselt logo

Cramer-Krasselt, a full service advertising agency offering over 120 years of experience in the industry and 8 offices in the U.S, pride themselves on their ability to understand their clients’ businesses and customers. They use this knowledge to create campaigns that truly resonate, adopting the mantra, “Make friends, not ads.” Additionally, they have a strong focus on social media and content marketing, and have developed a reputation for their expertise in these areas. Some of Cramer-Krasselt’s key clients include Porsche, Corona, Heinz, and Edward Jones. Their Chicago office serves as the agency’s headquarters. 

Noteworthy traits:

  • Go beyond solving for awareness. Cramer-Krasselt changes behavior towards a brand, thereby accelerating revenue
  • Use advertisements as a way for companies to build community, not just maximize transactions
  • Work to create ads that endure over time, increasing awareness and driving sales as the campaign lives on

Here’s what Brian Nienhaus EVP, had to say when he was named Managing Director of the Chicago HQ in February 2023:

My experience, whether it was in building large, multi-layered account teams, or putting together integrated agencies literally from scratch, or what I consider a master class in consulting with agencies in my capacity at the 4A’s, will help me contribute to the rich, creatively iconic legacy and consistent success of C-K.

Case study: Cramer-Krasselt created a memorable campaign for Corona Premier that centered around discovering the simple joys in life. The campaign aimed to position Corona Premier as the perfect drink for those seeking to slow down and refresh during the summer. The ads highlighted the light, crisp taste of Corona Premier and its low calorie count, positioning it as the perfect accompaniment to a summer day. Cramer-Krasselt’s campaign for Corona Premier was a success, helping drive awareness and sales for the brand. Check out more of their successful case studies.

Location: Chicago, IL

Year founded: 1898

Team size: 700+

Key services: brand strategy, concepting, creative development, media planning and buying, digital and social media marketing, content marketing, public relations, experiential marketing, analytics and insights, SEO, SEM, UX, influencer marketing

Industries served: automotive, consumer packaged goods, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, retail, technology, B2B, B2C

4. Havas Chicago

Havas logo

Havas Chicago is a leading global advertising and communications agency (part of Havas Worldwide) that is highly regarded for its exceptional creativity and ability to develop impactful campaigns that engage and resonate with target audiences. With a focus on customer-centric solutions and data driven insights, the agency has earned numerous awards and accolades for its work, demonstrating a commitment to delivering outstanding results for clients across diverse industries. 

Noteworthy traits:

  • Havas has a strong focus on sustainability and purpose-driven branding, allowing them to create compelling campaigns that resonate with eco-conscious consumers
  • By offering a range of in-house expertise, such as data analytics and creative strategy, Havas Worldwide is well-positioned to provide clients with integrated marketing
  • The agency places a strong emphasis on creating campaigns that align with their client’s core values and resonate with consumers on a deeper level, earning them a reputation as a socially responsible and ethical advertising agency

Here’s what Dannie Lynn F., Associate Account Strategist of a small business had to say about her experience working with Havas Worldwide:

Worked with Havas in a corporate capacity when focused on a project for a client to grow visibility and reach in new market segments. Very communicative and thorough in their approach, proactive support, not having to constantly reach out for updates. Easy to work with.

Case study: Havas Worldwide’s highly successful campaign for Air Wick, “Home is in the air,” effectively increased the brand’s sales by leveraging the power of emotional storytelling. The agency’s innovative and creative use of both traditional and digital media channels effectively engaged consumers across multiple touch points, driving significant growth for the brand. Check out more of their successful campaigns

Office location: Chicago, IL

Year founded: 1991

Team size: 11,000 employees

Key services: Brand strategy, creative advertising, social media marketing, content creation, experiential marketing, data analytics

Industries served: Automotive, healthcare, technology, financial services, telecommunications, retail, and more

5. FCB Chicago

FCB Chicago logo

FCB Chicago is a leading advertising agency based in Chicago. The agency was founded in 1973 and has a rich history of creating iconic campaigns for clients across various industries. FCB Chicago’s philosophy is centered around creating “Never Finished” campaigns that continuously evolve and improve over time. FCB Chicago has a diverse client portfolio that includes Michelob, ULTRA, Jack Daniel’s, and Clorox. The agency is known for its award-winning work, having won numerous accolades, including 2021 & 2020 Most Awarded Network, and 2022 Most Innovative. FCB Chicago is also notable for its expertise in healthcare advertising, having created campaigns for clients such as GSK, J&J, and Novartis. The agency’s healthcare practice is focused on creating campaigns that are patient-centric and support better health outcomes.

Here’s what Managing Director Katy Wright had to say about the strength of combining creativity with tech and data, Drum.com: 

We’ve arrived at a place where three forces that might previously have felt opposed to each other – tech, creativity and data – are forming a new kind of equilibrium. That’s partly because we now have a generally high level of knowledge and awareness about tech and data. People are savvy about giving away their data – but there’s no evidence to suggest they’re fundamentally opposed to doing it when the incentive is right.

Case study: FCB Chicago worked with SOS Children’s Villages India to create a new kind of influencer, Chatpat, a 10-year-old boy from the streets. Chatpat recreated iconic Indian commercials, asking these large corporations to donate to SOS Children’s Villages India. Chatpat became a viral sensation, increasing brand impressions by 1506% and raising corporate donations by 61.5% with a zero-budget marketing strategy, creating an all-new fundraising model for the future of SOS. Check out more of their successful work.

Office location: Chicago, IL

Year founded: 1873

Team size: 700+ employees

Key services: Advertising, business consulting, digital, direct marketing and CRM, data analytics, healthcare marketing, integrated production, mobile, promotions, social media, retail and shopper marketing, experiential/sponsorships, strategic planning

Industries served: Healthcare, financial, consumer packaged goods, retail, and more

6. Ogilvy Chicago

Ogilvy logo

Ogilvy Chicago is a branch of the global advertising agency Ogilvy, which has been in business for over 70 years. With offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento, Ogilvy California serves clients across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, technology and consumer goods. One of the key strengths of Ogilvy California is their ability to combine data driven insights with creative storytelling to develop campaigns that resonate with their clients’ target audiences. They also have a deep understanding of the Chicago market, and their unique cultural and social dynamics, which allows them to develop campaigns that are relevant and impactful. 

Here’s what critically acclaimed music producer, Porter Robinson, had to say about Grey’s ad for SoundCloud, “Sound Bar of Bullets”

This is one of the most beautiful and eerie uses of the internet that I’ve ever seen.

Case Studies: Grey Advertising is responsible for a variety of effective campaigns for companies like Pantene, Applebees, Pringles, SoundCloud and more. Check out their successful work

Office Location: Chicago

Year Founded: 1948

Team Size: 501-1,000 employees

Key Services: brand strategy, creative, social media, branded entertainment, public relations, public affairs, influencer marketing, employee experience, technology, ecommerce, hospitality, travel, and healthcare

Industries Served: Retail, technology, healthcare, financial services, automotive, and more

Best Advertising Agencies in Chicago: Final Thoughts

Choosing the right advertising agency is crucial to the success of your business. With so many options in the Chicago area, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. That’s why we’ve highlighted some of the top advertising agencies, including Leo Burnett and FCB Chicago, which stand out for their customer centric approaches and data driven insights. However, if you’re looking for an ad agency with a commitment to meaningful advertising and a proven track record of delivering exceptional results, look no further than NoGood. Our team of experts will help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of the digital marketing and advertising agency, and deliver strategies that drive measurable results for your business. Contact NoGood today and let us help you achieve your goals.


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