Among other agencies to have secured more than five nominations for the 33 categories are DDB, Elvis, Saatchi & Saatchi X and Wunderman.
Vying for Agency of the Year are Initials Marketing, Elvis, Livity, iris and Saatchi & Saatchi X, while An Abundance, Forever Beta and Gravity Thinking are in the running for best newcomer.
The winners will be announced on 1 March at The Old Brewery, Chiswell Street, EC1 and a public exhibition of the shortlisted work will run from 6–8 March at the Scott Room, Guardian newspaper offices.
Simon Tilden, Diageo's global category director of advertising, marketing production and SmartBrand, is chairman of the judges, and the creative judging panel is chaired by Alistair Ross, DraftFCB's head of ideas.
Ross said, "The entries this year reflected the tightening marketing budgets which we have all faced. As such, the thinking behind the best work had to be simpler, smarter and less self-indulgent. A number of clients and agencies rose to this challenge, showing that when the going gets tough, the smart get thinking."
Scott Knox, managing director of the MAA said, "This year we are seeing some really clever, innovative work for a wide range of sectors with varying budgets and the standard is significantly higher than in the previous two years."
The full awards shortlist can be found on the MAA website.
Follow Daniel Farey-Jones on Twitter @danfareyjones