SEE, THERE IS ANOTHER WAY! Agencies can make money charging for creative.

By - CTL
March 6, 2017

By Dorothy Thompson. For some months a number of my colleagues at Crossing The Line have written about the questionable means by which some advertising agencies obtain revenue from their clients.

Some have extrapolated that current business models are unsustainable and agencies, as we know them, are headed for extinction. (See: At Least The Dinosaurs Didn’t See It Coming).

In an article recently published on LinkedIn (amongst other publications); Robert Campbell one of the founders of the Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Advertising Brand (London) has defiantly spoken out, and reminded everyone how you can make money, successfully, using a fair but totally different business model.

Robert Campbell said:

“I noticed that Y&R finally shot the RKCR brand in the head the other day.

To be honest I was relieved. I was sick of being described as ‘the Robert Campbell from Rainey Kelly. I left twelve years ago!

However, tonight, MT Rainey, Jim Kelly, Mark Roalfe and I are having dinner together to celebrate the overdue end of an era.

RKCR was a great agency. You may not remember, but when we launched in 1993, we launched on the then radical platform of ‘payment for ideas.’

This is because we wanted to attach value to the multimedia ideas we created. Rather than man-hours spent. (Or man-hours wasted, as is so often the case in big agencies.)

And anticipating the digital revolution (this was 1993) we recognized that solely producing TV adverts was not the future.

Our business model worked. Every client that hired us for the first seven years paid us a cash lump sum up front for the idea we created for them.

The ideas we created were strategically inspired (MT is a genius), creatively robust, and highly effective. They extended way beyond the parameters of conventional advertising.

The biggest sum we took was a cool one million quid for a major new brand campaign. Cash up front! (I won’t tell you the name of the lovely client who valued our strategy and ideas so highly. But they were very happy with the results.)

So there we go. Rainey Kelly was a fab, innovative agency. Seriously rock and roll. And a golden goose for both itself and its clients.

No wonder Y&R paid £28 million for us in 1999! Y&R were great guys to work with. And working on an international stage, for me, was fascinating and fun.

But they were like an over excited child who had got a shiny new toy to play with. Y&R were thrilled to own us, but they never really bothered to read our instruction manual.

With a little more belief, help and support, RKCR could have transformed the Y&R network globally.

So, after all these years, good bye Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe.

Hello, the future”.

It is fascinating to read the flipside and Y&R’s spin on the matter of the demise of Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe.

In his first move this month since joining Y&R David Patton Global President has rebranded Y&RRKCR  (Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe) to Y&R London. “The rebrand follows a tumultuous two years for the agency, which has lost several key accounts including Marks & Spencer and Premier Inn last year, as well as Lloyds Bank, Vodafone and Land Rover in 2015”. 

Jon Sharpe, who was named chief executive at the end of 2015.

Sharpe said “the agency is increasingly a hub for pan-European and global relationships, pointing to global account wins last year including the Premier League and Chanel”. He added, “that becoming Y&R London is the “natural response” to this demand”.

One could be forgiven for asking why Y&R, having paid a small fortune for an agency that was profitable, successful, progressive, and creative, did what most multinationals do – change the agency they bought for who they are, into something they’re not. And in the process completely stuff up the successful brand they felt so compelled to buy to enhance their own growth and creative reputation.

Oh well; it seems it’s back to the future all over again. Will they never learn?



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