Agency In-House Production: Just a Novelty?
Recently, the new trend of creative agencies launching ‘in-house’ production units to service their more amenable clients has, as expected, reached Spain.
Countries like USA, UK and France have already been affected by this trend. The agencies that have chosen this path are not in the majority, but there is no denying that their existence is laying down a fertile breeding ground for this novelty.
I am quite sceptical about the impact in-house production will have on my country. I find it rather hard to believe that a process in which a company is placing a bid and choosing the winning bid at the same time can sustain itself.
There is no doubt in my mind that advertisers will begin to see that this system, with an evident monopolistic tendency based purely on economic interests, leads to unfair competition. Which at the very least raises legal uncertainties. In the US, a federal anti-trust investigation was launched into agencies’ in-house production. In other countries such as United Kingdom, France, and even Spain, advertising producers associations are standing up to this practice, going as far as not submitting competing bids against in-house agency production units.
It is my belief that in Spain, the steps taken by the APCP (Advertising Producers Association of Spain), will finally open the eyes of the advertisers (who are undoubtedly the ones most adversely affected by this issue) to the benefits of fair and true competition on the basis quality and price - as it should be in a free and open market.
If we take into consideration the singularity of our work, the emergence of this system can lead to a loss of quality and creativity in favour of the financial element. Which is, perhaps, being given undue consideration within today’s agencies.
On the other hand, we the producers - given our interest in sustaining our way of life - are the only ones who can offer advertisers skills such as objectivity, specialisation, talent, progressive development, and fair competition when it comes to production.
I know for certain that the best agency in the whole wide world would never be able to produce a better commercial than a production company. At the same time, I can affirm that the best production company in the world would not be able to create a campaign better than any agency.
As popular wisdom says: 'Every man to his own trade'.
Angel Recio is executive producer at Lee Films