The future of a “Community of Creatives”

2 August 2017 by Mark Fallon

The future of a “Community of Creatives”


Faye Constance Marketing

It seems like there is no end of talk lately on industry consolidation, agencies of the future, and which business model will win out. But the truth is, it’s unlikely one marketing partner can do it all and it’s unlikely that one brand can afford to use the best of agencies for each discipline so the reality is that any fully integrated campaign will likely require interagency cooperation. This is great in terms of getting a fresh perspective and this shift means your agency partners will come to you with many opinions about digital, direct, social, etc.. This also means that agencies will begin to compete to expand their scopes of work and it’s not always a popular environment for agencies to be in.

As modern agencies are expanding their offering and clients are looking at multiple agency campaigns where that does leave the industry as a whole and what does the future look like? Last year the boss of a full-service agency 303 Mullen Lowe  Nick Cleaver was interviewed by Mumbrella and took a negative view on agency collaboration.  He argued that it creates nothing but division and inefficiency.


Cleaver:   “If you’re going to ask me do I enjoy working with other agencies? I hate it.”

“Do I believe it’s the most efficient model? No I don’t. I think it leads to a huge amount of time wasted in reinvention and argument and discussion and deviation.

“I am an enormous advocate of media and creativity being one. One of the worst things that ever happened to this industry was the separation of media thinking from creative thinking.”


Cleaver acknowledged it was a “fact of life” that he needs to work in tandem with other agencies and recognised that clients have “multiple partners”.

“You have to accept that. But do I like it? No I don’t,” he said.


But Cleaver predicted the days of a fragmented agency landscape will soon come to an end, with “clear signs it is breaking down”.

“Media agencies are becoming increasingly powerful and delving into the creative arts,” he said. “Give it another five years and the division will have gone.”


However- There are differing views on this and from a clients’ perspective it can offer them the opportunity to really develop a powerful proposition.


Julia Nelson, senior manager of brand, sponsorships and events at IAG Commercial Insurance disagrees with Cleaver on this.

“As a client being able to have those blended ideas coming together is very powerful, rather than a traditional agency over here and a traditional agency over there,”

“You have a chance to pick your partners and test them against your idea and then pick and choose the best combination of how those partners respond.”


Nelson said she spent time building trust and creating an environment that thrived on “open and honest conversations”.

“There’s no tolerance for backbiting or undermining,” she said.

“There’s also a personality thing. I don’t like working with egomaniacs. I like people who actually sign on to do the right thing for their client, and are not after their own aggrandisement.

“We will win multiple awards for a campaign because of the collaboration because the agencies trust the process.

“They trust the client, and they want to do their best work.”


Head of Marketing –Jo Kelly agrees

“One lead agency is an outdated marketing idea, now we brief our agency partners collectively for its all of our campaigns, with no one agency having a greater say than any other.

“It has created a lot of debate amongst the agencies and it doesn’t mean that all the agencies will go ‘wow that’s amazing’, but they will respect the creative idea and execute to achieve the targets that we are looking for,” she said.

“I am not going to say it’s always an easy and beautiful process. It’s not. Its tension filled, but that is good because we get really good strong outcomes and we get brave work that is going to resonate with people.”


Where does that leave the future of marketing agencies?

Certainly inter- agency collaboration is a more complex process than working with one lead creative agency, and clients will always prioritise getting as many creative ideas as possible for their campaign. Ultimately; if collaboration, transparency and a clear objective are at the heart of every campaign than the future of a “ Community of creatives” will be a bright one.

For more info please contact Faye at or call +353 (1) 661 8889.