Magazine article CRM Magazine

Marketing and Advertising Agencies Blur the Lines: Third-Party Partners Are Broadening Their Roles. What to Consider for the Perfect Pairing

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Marketing and Advertising Agencies Blur the Lines: Third-Party Partners Are Broadening Their Roles. What to Consider for the Perfect Pairing

Article excerpt

From the establishment of the first American advertising agency (reportedly in Philadelphia in 1841) to today, advertising agencies have come a long way, baby. Putting together an effective advertising campaign is an art and a science, which is why companies often turn to professionals to help them do it.

Choosing the right agency is no simple task. Today it is common for advertising agencies to offer marketing services, and vice versa. Boutique firms that specialize in certain areas have also sprung up. There are research marketing firms, loyalty incentive firms, digital agencies, etc. In addition to print, television, and radio, marketers must also contend with the digital components of a campaign.

On top of all that, companies have been forced to cut back on their marketing budgets. Ad spending suffered during the recent recession but is slowly coming back. In 2009, total ad spending, which includes TV, Internet, print, and radio, was $147.2 billion, according to research firm eMarketer, and it is expected to reach $164.2 billion in 2013.


A classic example of intense ad spending is the Super Bowl. When football fans sit down to watch their favorite teams battle it out, businesses know the anticipation for the commercials is just as high--if not higher--as for the big game. The price tag for a 30-second spot this year was $3.5 million, and it is predicted to rise to $4 million in 2013.

"What makes the Super Bowl so popular [for advertisers] is it's the only day of the year [when] people actually tune in to view ads," notes Ron Goodstein, associate professor of marketing at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. "It's the whole concept of 'I get to finally play ad critic and I'm specifically watching these ads to determine if I like them.'"

This year, 111.3 million people watched the Super Bowl, making it the most-watched program in television history for the third year in a row, according to Nielsen estimates.

In addition to plunking down millions of dollars for an ad spot, companies also hire agencies to produce the elaborate commercials that viewers expect.

"Ad agencies are able to attract the various types of talent...needed to make a unique and effective commercial," maintains Chris Carter, vice president and account director of advertising firm Deutsch L.A., which produced Volkswagen's "The Dog Strikes Back" commercial this year. "Even if a business can attract similar talent, they'll still use an advertising agency because they want experts."

Deutsch L.A. also created the pintsized Darth Vader in last year's "The Force" Super Bowl commercial, which rated at the top of most consumer polls in 2011, and at the time this article was written, had received more than 50 million views on YouTube alone.


For "The Dog Strikes Back," the agency and its partners spent months creating the approximately 60-second commercial, which featured a dog getting in shape to chase after a Volkswagen Beetle. Preparations involved training a dog to wear a fat suit while walking on a treadmill and building a replica of the famous Star Wars canteen, complete with costumed actors.

Despite criticism that most viewers remember the creative angle of a Super Bowl ad longer than they do the brand, advertising agencies have begun extending the buzz surrounding a commercial through online media.

Deutsch L.A. was among the first agencies to pre-release its Super Bowl ad on YouTube before game day last year, garnering millions of hits and generating chatter on social media platforms. It also released a teaser ad, "The Bark Side," featuring a chorus of barking dogs, which was a viral hit, with more than four million online views in less than 48 hours.

In addition to producing high-profile commercials, advertising and marketing agencies provide businesses with a slew of other resources. …

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