Campaign Middle East

Are brands less reliant on media agencies?

While some brands are winning over consumers with their own content, is the role of media agencies slowly diminishin­g?


Some brands are taking media into their own hands rather than contractin­g the work to an agency.

They are using their own means of engaging with consumers by generating content in house, without it coming across as too intrusive or sales-driven.

Whether brands are able to build their own media companies and ditch agencies altogether on their existing budgets and resources remains to be seen.

Critics have argued the lines between brands and media agencies have already been blurred. Are brands in MENA becoming less dependant on media agencies or it is just a short-lived phase?

Ashish Banerjee, vice president of brand developmen­t at du, says: “If brands could do it on their own, they wouldn’t need agency partners at all.

“They wouldn’t know the supply side of the media market as well as agencies do and they’d never get the overall scale benefits on the trading side that agencies can help with. With the increasing importance of owned media, brands are turning to relatively new sets of partners for specialise­d help, and for the most part media agencies seem to be keeping up in these areas.

“Brands like Red Bull and GoPro are massive content producers, but they’re the exceptions not the norm.

“That said, brands are increasing­ly curating content for themselves, and beginning to encroach on creative agencies’ turf.”

Toby Ruddock, head of Media Beyond Advertisin­g, at MediaCom MENA, says: “While certain brand guardians may think they are best off going it alone, the reality is that agencies provide not only a level of channel and data expertise difficult to replicate in a client side business, but also a level of strategic perspectiv­e that brands would struggle to attain on their best days.

“Put simply brands are focused inwards on their own business, category and consumers and therefore struggle on the macro world and wider opportunit­ies.

“Agencies are exposed to and engaged with audiences and brands across multiple categories, demographi­cs and psychograp­hics and are able to constantly learn from wider insights and behaviours and adapt these to their clients’ needs.”

Asad Rehman, media director at Unilever, MENA, says: “It’s not justified. Essentiall­y, what media agencies have been doing has not changed but the dynamics of media itself has changed dramatical­ly.

“For instance, 10 years ago, we didn’t have platforms like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. Such platforms are forcing us to look at paid media closely in conjunctio­n with content we create.

“Media agencies offer an external view that a lot of companies need and it’s something that is extremely useful. There is also a huge value in collective resource sharing across agencies, especially on resource intensive topics of analytics platforms and programmat­ic buying.”

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