When it comes to media planning and buying, you have a media department at the client’s end that works in tandem with the agency in question. Can the same not be applicable to the creative arena as well? You have brands that sweat it out on television, only to suffer on account of a mediocre creative idea. A half-hearted brief, a miscommunication of sorts, a misinterpretation of strategy…the anomalies that exist between the client and the agency are manifold.
The answer to these anomalies lies in the brief. As is said, a creative brief is like a roadmap. A good brief leads to imaginative and persuasive ads, and gets you to your destination in double-quick time. A bad brief sets you off in a wrong direction, in all probability to a town called Bad Adsville.
So the brand gets up one morning and sets out for a pitch; the agency in question hides its head in a paper bag; newcomers line up to grab the account. But does a solution to this rigmarole lie in having an in-house ‘creative’ department at the client’s end? After all, who understands the nuances of a brand better than the client himself?
Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Joint Managing Director, Kinetic Engineering, concedes that a great deal of miscommunication does occur between the client and the creative agency, but is not sure if the answer lies in an in-house creative department. “For one, it’s not a scientific field and it requires a creative and an imaginative bent of mind. With media, everything is quantifiable and there is a method to the madness, which enables an in-house media department to coexist with the media agency,” she says.
As for creative campaigns, Motwani says it is all about tactical and strategic thinking coupled with talent, not to mention technological inputs. She feels that the client already has too much on his plate and can’t possibly develop expertise in these areas too. “So the creative business is best left to the agency, with the client assuming the role of the supervisor,” she says.
But N Gangadhar, General Manager, Marketing, Siyaram, believes that in due course of time the concept of in-house creative compartments will definitely evolve. He says, “I think that the relationship between most brands and their respective agencies has reached a point of deterioration. Most brands ask for a certain type of creative product, but they are saddled with another. It makes sense to have an in-house department that will work in close tandem with the creative agency and monitor all possible arenas of film-making and communication. Perhaps there would be a day when almost everything would be done in-house, leading to a lot less complications.”
The views of Harit Nagpal, Vice-President (Marketing), Hutch, are more in line with Motwani’s. He believes that the in-house creative proposition is far from the realm of possibility. “Honestly, that would mean the end of all ad agencies. When the client has an in-house creative department, why would he rely on an external ad agency? Such a scenario seems improbable, as the client is pressed with a million other responsibilities, without having to take on this additional responsibility as well. With media, it’s a different ball game, as everything is about statistics or numbers, which is why a coordinated effort is a practical solution,” he says.
For the present, what holds good for media is apparently not good enough for creative. As more and more brands go fishing for new custodians, in-house creative departments are yet to become a solution.