Advertiser in-housing is supposed to make marketing simpler although you could be forgiven for wondering how sometimes.
Arla Foods, the giant Danish/Swedish co-operative is starting an entity called The Barn to bring more content production in-house, putting creative and media side by side. The Barn will use existing resources plus people hired from the likes of Lego, which already does it.
At the same time Arla has hired Accenture interactive and its Karmarama as its lead global digital agency. Arla global head of digital & The Barn Thomas Heilskov says these moves don’t mean it’s curtains for agencies (obviously not in the case of Accenture and Karmarama) although it doesn’t augur well for Wieden+Kennedy (which handles Arla’s Lurpak globally and lots of other UK business including milk and yogurts, Mother and Leo burnett on Castello and WCRS on Anchor.)
Heilskov says: “It’s no surprise that as media behaviours are changing, brands are under more pressure to act quickly, be present and optimise more in-flight. That’s rapidly transformed the whole marketing process so we needed a more agile model where media and content comes together.
“We need to tailor the messages more when it comes to personalisation, have additional variations of creative and be able to react to news events – those tasks are expensive with agencies and it’s tough to have the media and creative team come together to do it fast enough.
“And then there are financial reasons – there are efficiencies to be gained out of it.”
It seems likely that Accenture will play a role in this in-housing. There were noises out of Accenture last year that it was closing on a big global ad deal to add to its “brand experience” duties for Radisson and Maserati – Arla might be it.
Agencies these days need to be philosophical about such moves: at best they seem to face a future of competing for client work as part of a roster. Marketing practice, as with many aspects of business, seems to follow fashion and, currently, in-housing in some shape or form is the buzz activity. Marc Pritchard at P&G is leading the charge (although agencies, notably Saatchi New York, still play a big role) and Unilever is ahead of the game in some ways with its in-house U-Studios. Others are clearly following.
Lurpak agency Wieden+Kennedy is good at riding such waves though, helped by the fact that Nike puts just about all its global creative through the agency as it has for thirty-odd years.