4As' Kaplowitz: ANA In-House Report Isn't Telling The Full Story

When the Association of National Advertisers issued its latest report about brands taking ad agency services in-house, the 4As didn’t have much to say in response. 

That was a week ago. Finally the agency trade group has replied in the form of a commentary that appeared on the website today under the byline of Marla Kaplowitz, 4As president/CEO. 

The ANA report, asserted Kaplowitz, “isn’t telling the full story.” 

“Brands may move from agency to agency—that will never change—but to win over the people who buy their products or use their services, external partners are imperative,” she wrote. 

That said, Kaplowitz also acknowledged that there are “areas of expertise that make sense to keep in-house,” like social media with the “increasing need for a tighter connection to legal teams,” and programmatic, especially for the those “companies with rich first-party data.” 



But at the end of the day, Kaplowitz advised, “The solution may not be to have internal or external creative work, but to strike the right balance of both.” 

Well said Marla, particularly coming from someone whose job is be a lead advocate for the agency community. Hope your entire constituency sees the rationality girding your position although it won’t surprise me if a few wrong-headed members suddenly resign from the organization. 

Kaplowitz pointed to Pepsi’s “tone-deaf” Kendal Jenner ad as an example of what can happen when brands lack an external perspective when creating ads. “Most marketers and agency observers agree that, had there been some external perspective, Pepsi would never have produced the cringe-worthy spot.” 

Yeah, I think Marla is right. Balance is the key. In advertising. In marketing. And in life.



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