In the recent special double issue of Newsweek magazine (3/26/12 and 4/2/12) celebrating Mad Men and the 1960s golden age of advertising, Nick Summers analyzes the tremendous changes in advertising due to social media (Click This Ad Already! pp. 5864). Summers piece includes a sidebar that refers to Robert Wong, an employee at Googles Creative Lab. Considering the excellent work produced, Summers observes, You dont need an agency to create great advertising (p. 61).
I agree with Summers you dont need an agency to create great advertising, but I will tweak his statement just a bit: It depends.
I have seen advertising agencies do excellent work and poor work. I have seen in-house people do excellent work and poor work. If you use an agency, it all depends on how good that agency is and how well that agency genuinely captures the clients heart. On the other hand, if a company forgoes the agency approach, opting instead to create its own advertising and marketing, then it all depends on the nature of its in-house talent.
Let the buyer beware? No! Rather, let the buyer be deeply introspective.
Such deep introspection must reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly of the companys in-house talent. It must also reveal the companys blind spots, which by definition may be an impossible task. So the buyer can beware (thats always good), but the buyer had better be deeply introspective (thats even more important).
That introspection will lead that company to the best approach. Some companies desperately need an agency. Other companies can do just fine alone.
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