5 Best Advertising Agencies in San Francisco

San Francisco, California, is a hub for modern, brilliant, creative minds. Finding great advertising talent is easy, but finding the best talent that aligns with your “vibe” might be a challenge. There are hundreds of advertising agencies operating within the San Francisco area, so hopefully, this article will help narrow down your choice. Here is our listing of the best advertising agencies we found in San Francisco. Keep in mind these great companies are listed in no particular order.

1. Argonaut

Argonaut, founded in 2013 by Hunter Hindman, brands themself as the advertising agency that “creates brand comebacks” by revitalizing and reinventing brands from start to finish. This is an iconic marketing team, having worked with top brands such as Cricket Wireless, Fitbit, Nerdwallet, Carl’s Jr., and more. 

What makes Argonaut one of the best is their ability to tackle any kind of project, both short-term and long-term. They truly put in work, taking a brand and peering at it with a microscope to fine-tune all the little details. This is a luxury agency, so pricing is a bit high. For individuals or companies wanting a complete makeover, Argonaut is the agency for you. If a complete makeover is not in your vision, but rather some killer marketing campaigns and updated brand elements, you should still consider dropping a pretty penny for the exquisite designs Argonaut can whip up.

2. Cutwater

Here are a few adjectives that describe the vibe of Cutwater: fresh, edgy, indie, clean, different, emotional, trendy, flowy, hip. If you combine all of those adjectives, boom, you have the Cutwater advertising agency. They do more than just create impactful marketing campaigns; they offer creative design skills as well. Founded in 2007 by Omnicom before going independent in 2010, Chuck McBride and Christian Hughes provide leadership that makes them a big name in advertising.

Pricing is a bit more affordable compared to high-end agencies like Argonaut. Expect pricing to vary anywhere from mid to high range, depending on your brand needs. Speaking of needs, Cutwater offers full-service design and media services: brand strategy & platform development, identity & design, media planning & buying, integrated production, comms planning, account & project management, and more.

They are one of the best agencies in San Francisco because they cover such a wide range of services- the whole package. One of their goals is to create marketing campaigns that are different than the rest, imagining a new way of thinking and viewing the brand from an out of the box perspective. Take a look at their portfolio to see how they positioned brands- like Brawny, Unison, Sparkle, Ubisoft, and Jeep- in a new light.

3. Duncan Channon

Duncan Channon happens to be a top adverting agency in both the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. They have had a long time to build such a reputation, having been founded in the 1990s by Parker Channon and Robert Duncan. This advertising agency believes in the powers of creativity, passion, trust, and growth above all else. These values definitely show in how they communicate with clients and create unforgettable campaigns. 

You do not have to spend a fortune with this ad agency to receive great content and service. No matter your budget, Duncan Channon is always willing to help you create a brand strategy or even design a UX.

Duncan Channon has won several awards over the years: SF Addys Best in Show, Global Best of Show, Best Media Plan: O’Toole Award, and Four-time Ad Age Agency of the Year. By looking at their portfolio, you can see why they consider themselves the best. Top brands they have collaborated with include Birkenstock, Esurance, Sephora, StubHub, e.l.f. Cosmetics, and Hard Rock International.

4. barrettSF

With a first glance at barrettSF’s website, you might notice the complete lack of content and the focus on simplicity yet impact. A search bar draws attention against a vintage-esque background, and a newsfeed rolls across the bottom of the screen, letting you know there is more to discover if you take a peek further into their little world. Brought to life in 2012 by Jamie Barrett and Patrick Kelly, this is a relatively new advertising agency with a lot of potential to compete with the best-of-the-best.

Their mascot is a tortoise. Why? Because to them, it represents thoughtful strategy, quick evolution, creative thinking, and resilience against adversity. Every aspect of barrettSF is unique, providing mindful attention to client’s needs and budgets. Pricing starts low and increases according to your design and strategy needs. 

Several huge brands have put their brand in the safe care of barrerrSF- Walmart, Asics, Zappos, CBS, Course Hero, Credit Karma, Comcast, and MLB, to name a few. This truly is a personable company that focuses on meaning and impact.

5. Goodby Silverstein

Goodby Silverstein almost reads like a magazine, with colorful blocks of texts and images placed strategically on their website. They make it a point to not only promote their own success but also promote news and information occurring within the marketing industry- right on their website’s home page. Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein founded this legendary advertising agency back in 1983, having racked up more awards and clients than most other ad agencies in the San Francisco area. 

What makes them different from the competition is their in-house resources that allow their marketing team to innovate, experiment, and quickly deliver content to the market. Pricing is a bit unpredictable, but they have worked with small, indie companies if that provides any financial reassurance. Also, Goodby Silverstein has a “do good” focus that speaks to the hearts of many.

Their years of expertise and high-profile client lists speaks for itself. Goodby Silverstein has helped brands develop content across every industry imaginable: Cheetos, Doritos, Adobe, HP, Xfinity, Pepsi, BMW, Liberty Mutual, Sonic, and The Dalí Museum.