3 big brands that don't want -- or need -- an agency

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Agencies might dominate the advertising discussion, but according to a 2008 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) survey, slightly more than one-third of its members (42 percent) said that they have established in-house agencies within their marketing departments. In most cases, those in-house agencies handle some, but not all, of the brand's marketing. But increasingly, it's not unheard of to see brands that do it all in-house.

Historically, writes ANA executive vice president Bill Duggan, many people associated in-house agencies with efficiency and lower costs. But, according to Duggan, it's no longer true that brands are sacrificing creative when they do work in-house.

3 big brands that don't want -- or need -- an agency

"Many of us have been schooled on the 'triangle' throughout our careers -- 'fast, cheap, good...pick two,'" Duggan writes. "In-house agencies have always been fast and cheap. But more and more in-house agencies are now challenging the triangle theory by being good as well. Expect to see the use of in-house agencies to grow and become even more important going forward."


According to the brands interviewed for this article, handling their advertising in-house isn't just about balancing the tradeoffs between fast, cheap, and good. To be sure, those factors are always present. But there's also something else that unites brands that do their work in-house. It's a philosophy that puts a premium on substance over style, on digging deep into your brand's data rather than betting big on the latest solution, and on knowing your brand better than anyone else.

Let's take a look at three brands that choose to do it all in-house -- and why.



Todd Parsons
Todd Parsons May 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Fun read Michael, and solid efforts from progressive companies. It's a slam dunk assertion that strategy and creative must be rethought to work in our current media environment. But the payoff for that rethinking is (data-driven) performance, and that's implied here without any sharing of goals, methods or results.

These concepts are too often talked about as separate subjects. Who does the work matters a whole lot less then whether the work itself is effective. Love to see some metrics the next time.