Costs must be cut; every agency staffer knows this. But are cuts seriously damaging the quality of their creative output, costing agencies business in the long term?
These are the issues addressed in the fourth part of Marketing‘s creative director roundtable, hosted by Ron Tite, vice-president of innovation practice at Euro RSCG.
Cutting costs isn’t just the edict from atop the multinationals. As Glen Hunt, former creative director at Dentsu Canada, points out, smaller independent shops are cutting to “the bone” as well, “and losing money because of it.”
Some shops are cutting down on billings to production and post-production companies, bringing such staff in-house. Israel Diaz, EVP and COO at Young & Rubicam Canada, believes this doesn’t result is good work.
“The work does start to suffer,” Diaz said. “You can always get better talent outside the walls, and they’re going to work with you anyway.” Producing high-quality work is the best long-term business practice, he said.
“Someone on the payroll is going to behave differently than someone you award a job to,” said David Houghton, CD at Two Headed. The incentive of awarding “the best person” for a job far outweighs the motivation of an in-house animator or producer who can get overwhelmed by all an agency’s projects.
However, Virginia Magaletta, ECD at Twist Image, said the situation is different at digital agencies, which have been hiring best-in-class production staff since their inception.
“We try to hire the experts, build the team and keep everything in-house,” because constant technological change requires a dedicated staffer watching things evolve “24-7. For us, it’s a blessing to keep bringing people in… It’s really hard to outsource and hire programmers and send the work out. You lose so much control and so much time.”
Houghton agreed with Magaletta, but said while digital agencies have been hiring experts, full-service agency production staff are usually hired to just “get it done.”