Magazine article Marketing

A Fond Farewell to Full Service

Magazine article Marketing

A Fond Farewell to Full Service

Article excerpt

Now that Heinz has reawakened the spectre of advertisers cutting out agencies with the infamous Morris the Cat production company campaign, it seems a good time for a media company to put in its two penn'orth.

From the media side of the fence it has often seemed that a number of clients have burdened themselves with agencies to no apparent purpose. Examination of media specialists' account lists indicates a number of common strands, including much retail, record company and partwork business -- all sales-driven categories. But such an examination also confirms specialists growth in consumer goods and durables business where branding plays a key role. Many clients have therefore decided they don't need a full service agency at all.

The best media independents are more than capable of providing the market assessment, planning and of course media implementation and execution such clients require, however much they spend. In fact one can argue that account planning, once the panacea for full service agencies in the 80s, is increasingly reverting to its spiritual home in media.

If one accepts the obvious -- that there are too many agencies aspiring to be Saatchi & Saatchi -- it's amazing that more clients haven't decided to go direct for services beyond media. There aren't many agencies with the resources to provide a full service in the true sense of the word or even full service excepting media. So why do so many clients still appear to think they can?

The answer may well be that old habits die hard and many clients still feel that employing a "proper" agency is part of their job description.

Many advertisers would receive better value if they chose such services on a la carte basis.

There were two reasons for hiring a full service agency. One was as an extension of the marketing department and the second was long-term big brand development.

The likes of Heineken and Rowntree have done very well out of their full service agencies. In the case of Heineken, an inspired advertising idea by Collett Dickenson Pearce and its long-term creative development has sustained a major brand. At Rowntree this process -- although less spectacular -- has driven a number of major brands: against stiff competition and within a notoriously volatile market. …

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