For much of their history, advertising and marketing agencies have served as the creative minds and mouth-pieces for the brands, as well as their eyes and ears into consumer thinking. Brands relied on their agencies for full ad content creation, from inception through to delivery. However, with the rise of digital and social media over the past couple of decades, brands have increasingly desired control over the content creation and distribution process, resulting in the rise of the in-house agency.
This shift, from outside-agency to in-house agency, has accelerated its pace over the past few years. The Society of Digital Agencies found that the number of companies working exclusively with in-house agencies rose to 27% in 2015 from 13% in 2014 and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) reported in 2013 that, out of 203 client-side marketers, in-house agency usage had risen to 58% in 2013. Additionally, the ANA survey also found that 40% of respondents had moved creative strategy in-house.
The factors producing this shift, all stated on the ANA In-House Agency Committee’s homepage, are pricing, transparency, the rise in importance of consumer analysis technology and programmatic media buying, and ultimately the desire to connect directly to consumers and respond to consumer feedback without an intermediary. Notable examples of this trend in recent years include Bookings.com, Verizon, Chobani, Netflix, Kohler and many others.
While the in-house shift presents new opportunities for brands to better understand and connect with their audience, there are several dangers and pitfalls awaiting brands making this change. The most apparent danger has been creative stagnation and the creative echo-chamber, in which new and unique ideas and perspectives are limited. One need only examine the now infamous Pepsi-Kendall Jenner advertisement, created by Pepsi’s in-house creative wing, as an example. But there is a deeper danger to shifting advertising and marketing work in-house that is less apparent and less understood – content rights management.
Agencies not only create advertising and marketing campaigns for their clients, they also manage the nitty-gritty detail of the process. This includes, but is not limited to, purchasing content, negotiating agreements with talent, selecting and hiring photographers, working with cities on filming locations, and navigating governance and regulations. In short, outside agencies act as a buffer for the brands they represent, protecting their clients from the need to manage content rights. By taking all past and future creative content in-house, brands are now even more responsible for ensuring content is repurposed, created, and distributed following existing contract guidelines. In many cases, those contracts are either still being managed by an outside agency or are lost between agency and brand in a flurry of emails and attachments.
Several brands have noticed this issue and have compensated by purchasing exclusive and perpetual content rights, which is costly, or by setting up rights tags and metadata in their digital libraries, which can be time consuming and too complex for creative teams to bother reviewing. For these reasons, the FADEL team – focused on rights management in IP-centric industries such as publishing and consumer products for over a decade – stands by the belief that it is crucial to have a dedicated platform for content rights management.
By saving cost, adding transparency, and providing brands direct data, a dedicated rights management platform is directly in-line with the main reasons brand’s shift advertising and marketing in-house. A dedicated rights management platform allows in-house agencies to ensure that content created by the external agency is being leveraged properly. It allows brands to fully update and control their library of talent, agent, and photographer contacts, contracts, and usage. The new full ownership of content and production elements empowers in-house agencies to better leverage and repurpose existing content without fear, saving both production cost and the potential cost of breaking compliance or governance. Finally, a dedicated rights management platform puts data back in the hands of the brand and their in-house agency by enabling the brand to report on both expiring rights and the value of repurchasing the rights to content.
For more information on FADEL’s dedicated rights management platform, please visit our Rights Cloud homepage. If you are interested in learning more about the brands and in-house agencies we work with, please reach out to