Procter & Gamble revealed recently that it is setting up a dedicated agency to service its brands Ariel, Gain, and Tide. Impressively, the new shop will comprise teams from Publicis, WPP and Omnicom working together as one single agency.
The move is seen as an attempt to make good on Pritchard’s demands earlier in 2018 that creatives should account for three-quarters of agencies’ resources.
Recently-departed WPP chief Martin Sorrell was quick to acknowledge that Pritchard’s bold comments signalled a watershed moment in which agencies would have to become “more agile, less bureaucratic, less layered, more principle-driven, in the sense of driven by creative principle."
Despite best intentions, Sorrell estimated just 50% of what WPP agencies currently do is ‘creative’ and the objective is to move that to 75%. Against this backdrop, we now have the world’s biggest advertiser, P&G, assembling a new agency model.
Cracking the creative nut with a sledgehammer
Arguments that the industry needs to become far less bureaucratic, less layered, and more creatively-driven – which seem to be common-sense and fairly obvious to anybody that works in advertising, PR or marketing – could be considered using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
To put it simply: the problem isn’t the lack of creative talent in the advertising industry. There are plenty of fantastic creatives out there. The problem is that it is simply not being harnessed correctly.
Tapping into the talent we already have requires more refined technology solutions that unlock consumer insights and improve cross-functional processes that previously would have hampered creativity within the agency.
Video is vexing
The greatest challenge facing agencies looking to be more creative these days is video. Viewership is steadily increasing year-on-year, with eMarketer recently estimating that in 2018, nearly 2.38 billion people will watch streaming or downloaded digital video content at least once per month.
Volume is not the issue, though. Media fragmentation is. Video consumption is happening across more channels and screens – at the same time – than ever before. Per eMarketer, more than 80% of TV viewers are actively using the internet on a second device. Accordingly, a staggering 84% of marketers will be investing more in mobile video marketing in 2018.
The barrier for marketers is it requires far more time, resources, and investment to produce quality video for various formats than it does to produce static display adverts. For example, YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat all have different video formats – not to mention the fact that their users comprise different audience segments and have wildly different viewing habits.
YouTube viewers watch in a similar way to watching TV, whereas Facebook videos are often watched without sound. Snapchat has recently introduced the vertical format too, which is an added challenge to video producers who now need to swiftly crop landscape footage.
Audiences are atypical
Adding further complexity, video campaigns are increasingly visible to global audiences, which in itself presents agencies with another new set of hurdles around localisation and dynamic iteration.
Practically, agencies need to employ better processes to keep track of video assets across multiple platforms. They also have to give teams across the world the opportunity to access and edit content quickly and easily. Clients need tech that makes approvals easy and seamless, rather than being laborious and obstructive to the creative process.
Automating these format changes and ensuring that client/agency communications are able to be made in a fast, clear, and streamlined way means that creative teams can do what they are paid to do: create engaging, entertaining, and compelling video content.
Tech can turn the tide
Amazing ad creative can only come from quality insights, another area in which tech can help to deliver vitally important audience analytics in real-time. Once the creative is delivered to market, then technology can ensure that the best messaging is delivered to the right eyeballs, which means that creative teams can continually iterate and improve campaign effectiveness for clients.
More can also be done to contextualise views and deliver easy-to-understand, standardised reporting comparisons. This helps both agencies and clients properly evaluate the performance of ad stickiness, brand engagement, and consumer loyalty.
More productive creative output, better results, and happier clients – that’s the ultimate goal for any agency. And the way to achieve this is not to simply ‘employ more creatives’ nor stitching together talent from multiple shops. The imperative is deploying creative-centric technology solutions purpose-built to get the most out of the creativity that you already have.