The creative agency model is now in ER – how should agencies evolve?

 In Advertising, Digital, International

Ad agencies are not about to be replaced by robots, but the creative agency model is now in ER. How should agencies be evolving and what are clients going to be looking for in the coming years, Kate Magee asks

It’s the worst-kept secret in advertising: the creative agency model is crumbling. Blame the explosion of new channels to reach consumers. Blame the data deluge and its worshippers. Blame the robots – just watch the terrifying Humans Need Not Apply film. Whatever the catalyst, it’s a problem the industry urgently needs to fix.

Of course, agencies are already responding by creating more integrated offers, buying in new skills and setting up production studios to produce cheaper online content quickly. Others are trialling new payment models or taking equity in smaller clients.

Much of this is an attempt to see off threats from rival disciplines that are moving into their territory – or to see off clients swelling their in-house departments instead. Although creative shops can perhaps be comforted that even Specsavers, the poster child for in-house creative, needs external support (it put its CRM account out to pitch last month).

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