Clients are demanding more bespoke agency models

By AdNews | 13 December 2016

When M&C Saatchi and Woolworths set up their joint agency earlier this year it was quite a leap for both. It goes further than having a dedicated Woolworths team working within M&C Saatchi on the client’s account, it is a standalone agency, housed in separate premises, with a different name. It’s sign of things to come.

Clemenger set up The Kitchen Table in April 2015 when it won the entire Campbell Arnott's business from DDB; Westfield created Sibling last year, and in the US McDonald’s is the most recent big brand to do something similar.

After appointing DDB as it’s agency of record it tasked the agency with setting up a dedicated unit to handle its account. "Omnicom has built a new agency of the future for us," McDonald’s US CMO Deborah Wahl said in an interview with Ad Age in September. 

It’s not just on the creative side. It's media, pubishers and media owners too.

According to an article about publishers acting like ad agencies in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, The New York Times' in-house agency T Studio makes around 18% of the publisher's digital revenue - US$35m in 2015, up from $14m in 2014.

This year GroupM set up a dedicated unit to house Westpac. The bank was previously a MediaCom client but the new unit is backed by Maxus but operates separately to make sure Westpac’s needs are met by dedicated, full time staff that know its business intimately.

This is why AdNews has introduced the Bespoke/In-House Agency of the Year category. To recognise that things are changing and alternative models are becoming more common. 

You can find all the details on these new awards, and how to enter, plus the entry kit here.

Mark Lollback, GroupM CMO told AdNews earlier this year that he believes there will be more of it for clients that have the scale and the need for it.

“It’s a really interesting and powerful model for the right client and I think there will be more and more of it. There’s definitely an opportunity through these models for simplification and efficiencies and more collaboration and more focusing on the work than on the money.

“I think they’re really good and I think we’ll see more and more of them as clients want access to a broad range of services but want to reduce the complexity to access it.”

There are countless examples of Australian brands that have adopted bespoke strategies with their agency partners after realising that one-size definitely doesn’t fit all. within WPP; Jaguar Land Rover owns Spark 44 its creative shop; Globally Hyundai owns Innocean and Samsung owns Cheil. WPP operates the Team Detroit unit and Blue Hive for Ford which brings together JWT, Mindshare and Wunderman to work across the business. 

Many clients have also looked to bring creative and media in-house and have set up their own creative agencies within their organisations. One example is Foxtel’s creative shop Felix, which works alongside its rostered agencies on campaigns and roll outs.

The other element in the shifting sands of agency client relationships is that agencies aren’t the only ones in the game any more. In the last few years all the major publishers, broadcasters and radio networks have also set up in-house creative units, or content studios, to make ads and branded content. Fairfax and ABC have both separately launched creative unit called Made.

Southern Cross opened The Studio; Emotive is a content agency wholly owned by APN but doing work for clients that goes way beyond APN's channels, as is NewsCorp's LifeLab. 

This is why AdNews has introduced the Bespoke/In-House Agency of the Year category. To recognise that things are changing and alternative models are becoming more common.

Award entries are open now until 17 January. You can find all the details on these new awards, and how to enter, plus the entry kit here.

Plus, We've made it easier to enter the AdNews Agency of the Year Awards this year. You can access the online portal now and upload your entry and your assets.

Other new categories this year:

The People and Culture Award is open to any agency, marketing team, media or adtech company operating in the marketing communications industry in Australia and will award workplaces that are investing in people, committing to diversity and driving a strong culture within their organisation.

Brand of the Year has been introduced to recognise strong brands in Australia. It's open to any consumer-facing brand with marketing and/or brand operations based in Australia and recognises the output, performance and commercial outcomes, as well as the structure, leadership and performance of the team.  The category is open for clients to enter their brand directly, or for agencies to enter their clients in recognition of their joint successes.

Production Agency of the Year has been added to recognise this key side of the industry.

Small Agency of the Year is also evolving to recognise that small independent shops and small agencies that are part of bigger networks face different challenges and so we'll consider these separately.

You can find all the details on these new awards, and how to enter, plus the entry kit here.

Our presenting partner is realestate.com.au and Twitter is our engagement partner. Our supporting sponsors include Adshel, iknowho, Nova Entertainment, The Trade Desk, ThinkTV, Val Morgan. Associate sponsors are Adstream, BlueStarWeb and Royal Auto.

Join us at The Star Sydney on 9 March for the 30th AdNews Agency if the Year Awards, help us celebrate 30 years of great advertising and be part of that legacy.

Entries Close Wednesday 18 January 2017. Judging period is for work created between 1 January and 31 December 2016.

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