Marketers Don’t Need Agencies, But They Do Need The People Formerly Employed By Agencies

“Marketers don’t need agencies.” So says Mark Wnek, a man with a storied agency career, including a run as Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Lowe New York.

He thinks brands will benefit from bringing much of the work in-house.

Brands investing in their in-house capabilities is nothing new, but the level of complexity and the need to be always-on, like the web itself, have changed the score. One big change is the myriad of agency partners in the room. The concept of an agency of record, or lead agency (with an outstanding reel), doesn’t fit all that well in today’s world, where big ideas can take shape in a variety of ways.

I’m curious, would you be interested in going to the client side in a creative role?

I can see the benefits of such a move, particularly for social media marketing practitioners. The social voice of a brand really needs to be owned by the brand. A copywriter at an agency can act as the voice of the brand, but there’s too much distance there for the performance to carry much weight. The real voice of the brand, at least in social channels, needs to be on-premise.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Valid point from Mark, but with agencies gone I think you would start to see stale ads coming from the brand end.  Creatives need ever changing projects or they run the risk of hitting a ceiling.  Then the company runs the risk of increasing turnover, which is expensive.

  2. Dan Goldgeier says:

    In-house agencies might just catch on. If they’re operated right. A topic I wrote about many years ago on Talent Zoo..

  3. I would go to the client’s side anytime. Working in a creative agency is much too stressful and involves too much patience and trampling. Needless to say all the strong nerves needed to resist the subjectivity of your superiors. I would love to create for a single brand, I find it much more fulfilling.