Creativity as commodity

A lot of debate has been brewing on this topic especially with the procurement departments becoming even more active and inquisitive during the recession.

Well, when a global FMCG giant like Unilever puts out a global brief on one of its most prized brands-DOVE, on a freelance creativity website BOOTB for a grand fee of US$5600, one has to say we are scraping the bottom. (Read my earlier post on BOOTB  and Outsourcing creativity).

First creative, media and production got unbundled. Next maybe we will see the separation of  “creative” from  “planning” and “account management”. Maybe global agency networks will largely focus on :

a. brand stewardship and communication strategy development,

b. Creative expression procurement against an agreed creative brief within a very tight budget ( which will  inevitably not be enough to cover in-house creative costs and thus will drive use of  creativity out-sourcing). Even this procurement process is being offered by crowdsourcing sites like IDEABOUNTY.

c.  Globally consistent cascade and  implementation.

Obviously it is not going to be so black & white and there will be all kinds of hybrid models ( Coke it seems is bringing communication strategy in-house and have hired a few ex-agency planners). What is certain though is that it is going to be an interesting ride. Tighten the belts. They have been slipping slowly for sometime.

Read some more views/discussions here.

1. Adage : Agencies and Media Brands Turning Into Commodities

2. An impassioned response to the above piece. Extract : “Bottom line: if corporations continue to squeeze ad agencies and other suppliers to drive down prices for their services, there will be a point where suppliers won’t be able to drive the advertisers’ cars, sleep in their hotels, buy their insurance, wear their clothes or spill their booze. And wage deflation will trickle down and around to other consumers, who will also stop buying branded goods. That is unless advertisers cut their prices and turn their hallowed brands into low-cost commodities.”

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One response to “Creativity as commodity

  1. Interesting thoughts! Being on the client side, I keep wondering if this is helping the clients or the agencies. Where unbundling of the agenices into creative, strategy, media, exectution etc is resulting into specialized resource with better quality of work, it is simultaneously adding to the resource management as well as time management skills required at the client side.

    Wasn’t it simpler to have one point of contact for strategy, creative media and execution rather than dealing with 4 to 5 different entities for one single project?

    Although, mature organizations have the procurement departments to negotiate terms with agenicies, it still requires extra time from brand/marketing side to focus on selecting the right agencies. Morever, the skills and efforts required to generate synergy among different partners while keeping the foucs on a single, common objective is often quite demanding.

    I see more marketers micro managing these issues rather than focusing on strategy, bigger picture and creating brand value today.

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