This article was first published in Campaign.
2015 will mark the renaissance of the full-service agency. Or so James Murphy, Adam & Eve/DDB’s chief executive, predicted in Campaign. He wrote: “It’s a rebirth that is already under way but will truly flower this year due to client demand and the ability of agencies to offer powerful brand strategy allied to seamless delivery across channels.”
The pace of change in the ad industry has been marked in the past few years, with an increasingly digital world breaking down traditional marketing silos, a proliferation of media channels and a more demanding consumer. This has led to clients’ expectation that work is more integrated. In response, agencies have attempted to broaden their offer, buying up shops and bringing in new specialists. For example, Bartle Bogle Hegarty set up a CRM division to retain the British Airways account. It is now planning a low-cost production business, a digital products and services unit and a creative studio.
And yet, despite all the talk, there are still very few truly integrated agencies that have made it work successfully. Is it time for all shops to embrace the spread?
Matt Edwards, chief executive, WCRS
All the firepower required under one roof. Specialist skills working together seamlessly. Collaboration without the barriers of cultural differences, profit motives and timing gaps. It’s the Engine model in three sentences. We’ve pursued this model of integration for a decade now and it’s become increasingly attractive as clients seek to achieve better results, often with less marketing resource and a smaller media spend. As a result, every year we do more WCRS pitches in conjunction with our Engine partners and we’d fully expect the trend to continue in 2015 as predicted here. Having said that, structuring for integration is meaningless if the strategies and ideas you’re integrating aren’t best in class. My prediction for 2015 would be the continued rise of the creative partnership, with many of the best ideas resulting from agencies partnering with external talent from the wider world of entertainment.