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Working with agencies

The client-agency relationship can be key to producing effective communications. Disagreements over remuneration and lack of communication remain major sources of friction between the two sides, and in the media space transparency has recently become a key client concern. With more media options than ever, big advertisers tend to work with a range of agencies, rather than a one-stop creative and media shop. Tasking them all on delivering separate, but holistic, brand communications can be a highly complex process.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

This guide summarises key arguments around the topic of taking on, managing and measuring advertising agencies, offering marketers practical advice from experts, with links to other papers on the topic. It offers key reading from the beginning to the end of the process, from finding an agency to evaluating its performance.
Best Practice guidance and tips based on an analysis of over 8,000 client-agency relationships.
Best Practice paper on ways to remunerate agencies beyond traditional models of agency compensation.
Why companies are moving strategy, creative and digital to in-house agencies
Advice and insights for clients on to manage their advertising agencies more effectively.

Case Study

In 2000, Cuisine was the market leader with a high subscription base and no serious competition to speak of.

Case Study

Dr. Angus's upbeat philosophy of indulgence is refreshing to burger lovers long barraged by diet hype.
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This article examines the current problem of digital transparencies from the client's perspective, providing best practice on what to ask media agencies in order to ensure advertisers can navigate the complex challenges of the digital landscape.


This article addresses the current issues facing marketers that use programmatic advertising, based on a study spearheaded by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA).

Research Paper

This report details the findings of a study into the costs and economics of the programmatic advertising ecosystem, and offers practical solutions to help advertisers take greater control of their programmatic investments.


This event report addresses the growing battle for marketing dollars taking place between agencies and consultancies.


This article examines how agencies seem to be in a race to the bottom, to provide services at ever lower price points - without, they promise, compromising on any of the other aspects of quality or speed.

Research Paper

Agency creativity is a product of team efforts whereby members interact to share knowledge, skills, and expertise to produce creative campaigns.
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  1. Article

    This event report addresses attempts by McDonald's, the restaurant chain, to pursue marketing "at the speed of now".

  2. Article

    In this article, Paul Feldwick, former planner at BMP/DDB, discusses what the legacy of the 'planning revolution' is today and what aspect of it, if any, has value for the future.

  3. Article

    This article argues that the real role of the strategist is to find new growth by answering the big questions that face the organisation and embracing the need to step beyond the conditions that have delivered success to date.

  4. Article

    This essay argues that agencies are fundamentally optimistic, while boardrooms are rather more glass-half-empty; agencies look to optimise while boardrooms prefer to limit damage, so agencies should use this paradigm to prove their value as 'immunisers'.

  5. Article

    This article describes how client and agency relationships have been transformed over recent decades and predicts how they will continue to change in the future.

  6. Article

    This paper outlines a process to help avoid making costly mistakes in giving feedback on creative advertising ideas.

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