Agency models are shifting dramatically in this post-Mad Men era. Part of this is to be expected, the proliferation of tools makes even the most humble of us think we can shoot, edit, draw or set a scene Hollywood style as long as we have the right gear. This contributes to a de-emphasis on strategic and creative expertise which reduces its influence, detrimentally, on work. Certainly this state has been influenced by both agencies and their clients.
Like turning tables quickly in a busy restaurant to max the take for the night, some agencies have churned work – disrespecting strategic and creative disciplines in the process. Likewise, clients rush to the deliverable cuts out the heart of a process that ensures fresh, on-target work that delivers on its business objectives. But there is a third influence as well, the overwhelming need for content and volumes of it. Brands are operating today in a state of being behind. There’s never enough content to fill the proliferating need.
This trend has driven some brands to bypass agencies and work directly with production companies. As Shareen Pathak noted in a recent Digiday article, the perceived benefits are a quicker turn, more control, and less cost without the agency ‘middleman’. While there are many valid paths to develop great work, we contend there is another model for consideration.
At Ricochet, we founded ourselves as an amalgam. Our model marries agency and production company as one. With creative and strategic integrated with experienced production and post-production staff and facilities, we offer the agile development brands need. In addition, the lack of a ‘mark-up’ to an outside production company means we can put more on the glass. Our model is collaborative – allowing brands to have the level of control they seek. While we might have been trend setters back in 2005 when we were born, we’re beginning to see more agencies move in this direction.