McCann Worldgroup is taking on the independent production giants like Williams Lea-owned Tag with a big production arm of its own, Craft.
Interpublic-owned Craft says it is happy to work with other agencies and creative companies but has no plans to work with other agencies’ clients direct.
Schuster says:“Craft was born in response to client demand for a consolidated offering that, at the same time, was highly local – they want the authenticity without having to deal with a dozen different production houses.
“So we leveraged McCann Worldgroup’s studio resources across the different disciplines offered, integrated, filled in gaps and added a marketing consultancy offering.”
Agencies have offered in-house production facilities with various degrees of enthusiasm since the year dot. WPP already has its Hogarth pre-media operation.
But the rise of companies like Tag has forced them to try to keep more of their business in-house, not least to avoid the possibility of just being able to charge one-off creative fees while another sort of company has a more enduring relationship with the client.
This is a particular issue for the likes of Interpublic and WPP whose business model depends on long relationships with big clients.
For Tag and the other production specialists it creates a problem. WPP agencies in the UK are already under orders to keep all such production work in-house, at Hogarth. If McCann, the biggest part of IPG, goes the same way it will be a headache of sizeable proportions.
The doubts about Craft, Hogarth and the rest centre on the ability of agencies to run keenly-priced production businesses. One of Craft’s big targets is the Asia Pacific market.
A correspondent advises me that Craft (or CRAFT) is also the acronym for a notorious adland-based luncheon club in China called ‘Can’t Remember a Fucking Thing.’
Let’s hope this isn’t an omen.