Increasingly advertisers are assessing the benefits of taking their creative business in-house – most fashion houses do it, media businesses like Sky and the BBC do it for much of their output, Specsavers have done it with some success for many years, now Jaguar is doing it globally.
De-coupled multi-channel production delivery, new technology solutions, high availability of ‘virtual talent’, and evolving marketing skill sets mean that ‘becoming your own agency’ is a very real option for more advertisers. The potential benefits are major – leaner processes, speed to market, creative control and enhanced ability to deliver a total brand experience, cost transparency and (if you get it right) cost reductions.
There are certain preconditions for success. You’ll need a creative director in-house (and arguably a strong ‘creative culture’ in the broader business), you’ll need the scale to support and fully occupy the specialist skill sets you may need to add, you’ll need communications-savvy project managers to make it all happen. Plus an appetite for accountability – where the bucks stops instantly becomes very clear!
So it’s not an option for everybody – it’s an easier move for companies already with in-house creative directors and a strong creative culture (such as fashion houses), companies with high volumes and short timescales (like the TV companies), and companies with a focused product range (easier for a Jaguar than say a Toyota).
If you’re thinking about it, watch out – the benefits are generally more apparent than the costs, but managing delivery is much harder and more important than you might think, and there are many stops on the journey of decoupling before the final destination of taking creative in-house.