AdLib: Full steam ahead for all-in services?
There's been a lot of talk in adland recently about the return of the full service agency. From the days when the media independents took off from the old full service agency to go it alone to more recent times when the schism in the full service ranks widened as the techies took the reins and galloped ahead with all sorts of digital ideas for clients.
Now, adland is said to be on the cusp of a new full service agency model. Core Media's Alan Cox leads the attack. Not only has Core used media buying and planning powers to good effect, it has shaped itself in rolling out a host of other marketing communications services, not least research, with Ignite, and data analytics with Radical.
In an interview with Marketing.ie earlier this year, Radical boss Justin Cullen sang from the same full service hymn sheet as Cox. The group's data division, which Cullen heads up, has been busy hiring experts in physics, maths and engineering. Cullen sees adland's future as a coming together of science and creativity.
Core recently recruited Geoff McGrath from Target McConnells to manage Starcom and bring the group together by providing what they labelled "transformative change". Shane Doyle joined from planning agency MCCP as Core's group head of strategy. It's all seen as part of Cox's greater plan to go full service.
From planning and buying, agencies honed skills in negotiating trading deals and being more proactive in seeing new opportunities coming down the tracks. But not everyone is convinced a move to full service will come easy. Some creative agency bosses would argue against the new full service model. As media agencies grow, more conflicts of interest arise.
The big media agency groups can handle conflicting accounts through various media sub-brands. But advertisers want the best creatives on their account. Where does that leave clients who because of conflicts mightn't get the best talent working on their business? There's also a culture clash which isn't readily remedied. As any seasoned adlander will testify, creatives are a world apart from the deductive media exec. The best creatives work from the right side of the brain. Vizeum's Joanna Gorczak, pictured, believes the new full service agency is still some way off and is just one possible option. Digital and client demands has seen media agencies restructure, new areas of expertise evolve and new talent hired.
But, Gorczak insists, with the emergence of an expanding skillset, there's no longer a clear demarcation in agencies of who does what. Not like in the halcyon days, when the lines were crystal clear. A creative agency weaved the magic, media booked the space, PR did its thing and so on. But now, the lines are blurred and many tasks are equally at home in any agency.
Gorczak says while agencies may strive for better inter-agency collaboration, in the belief clients prefer to deal with one large shop rather than several smaller agencies. How today's full service agency comes about needs to be fully thought out, she adds. It will look so different to the old version, it really couldn't be called 'full service'. It must embrace new hierarchies, social and data and the harnessing of multiple skillsets.
* Virgin Media spared little expense in presenting TV3's autumn schedule to media and advertisers in the National Concert Hall. "Mistress of ceremonies" Deirdre O'Kane couldn't ignore her comical side as TV3 personalities joined her on stage for a Graham Norton-style couch chat, while others looked up from the auditorium below.
"Dying is easy, comedy is hard," said the loquacious lady who will help voice TV3's new 'Gogglebox' series.
After a loud and sudden noise back stage caught O'Kane off guard, she immediately bounced back with the line "that was a terrible bang... thought I was going to have a John Lennon moment there". With Elaine Crowley volunteering for 'Operation Transformation', the cameras went on the 'Midday' host as O'Kane referred to RTE as "over beyond, in the mad place". All said in jest, of course.
* Former Munster and Ireland rugby legend Paul O'Connell will speak at An Post's Early Bird Club invite-only breakfast in Fallon & Byrne next Thursday. Now a director of Pinergy, the pay-as-you-go energy service, O'Connell will be interviewed by TV3 presenter Colette Fitzpatrick.
What Paul has to say will be of great interest to An Post's sales and marketing boss, Liam Sheehan, a big Munster rugby fan.
* The pace of change in digital and online advertising is the focus of the next Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI) Toolkit seminar. Discussing how more ad budgets are moving to programmatic buying and user generated content will be Dave Lenny of Amnet Ireland. Wolfgang Digital's Roisin Linney and Anna Pas will share case studies. The breakfast talk is in Core Media's offices at 8.15am on Tuesday, September 20.
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: firstname.lastname@example.org