What roles do you play in an advertising agency?

"The role of the classic advertising agency as a lead agency is dead"

The surveyed experts agree Martin Blach(Hirschen Group), Peter Figge(Jung von Matt), Torben Hansen(Philipp and Keuntje) and Stefan Schmidt(Dieckertschmidt) agreed on one thing in particular: In the complex digital age, it is more important than ever for advertisers to have strong agency partners at their side as "creative lighthouses" (Figge), who clearly and above all their brand in the increasingly tough competition Positioning touchpoints - and above all bringing the necessary digital know-how with you.

However, this no longer has to be the case aBe the lead agency, says Dieckertschmidt boss Stefan Schmidt: "There are also examples where there is so much strategic competence and disruptive courage in the company that you can invite several agencies to carry out the work."

Torben Hansen, managing director at Philipp und Keuntje, criticizes the lack of commitment in the new "image" model, which negatively affects the sense of responsibility as an important basis in the customer-agency relationship. Because: "If you don't want to commit yourself, you also say something. Doesn't mean that it can't be a model - but it always has consequences." dd

The expert statements in detail:

Martin Blach, CEO of the Hirschen Group

"The lead agency is currently experiencing a renaissance in the form of tailor-made agencies or tailor-made teams."

Hirschen Group CEO Martin Blach

Martin Blach

I don't see the model of the classic lead agency at the end at all. On the contrary: the lead agency is currently experiencing a renaissance in the form of tailor-made agencies or tailor-made teams: such as the establishment of Zum Roten Hirschen for Media Markt.

Two factors play an important role in this: The complexity of the industry with more and more options and channels is increasing and communication is more than ever a critical success factor for brands and companies.

And speed is decisive at all levels. In order to meet these requirements, our customers and we need agencies, communication architects and team builders with well-rehearsed teams, a high level of specialist knowledge and flat hierarchies.

Peter Figge, Board Member Jung von Matt

JvM board member Peter Figge (c) JvM

No, because especially in view of the explosion of digital possibilities, it is more important than ever to clearly position a brand with creative lighthouses and at the same time to provide people with the required content (vulgo content) at the right time in the right place via the right device. Entertain, support or go under is the motto!

The closer strategy, conception and creation are combined with targeting, media distribution and performance measures, the more important the role of a strategically and creatively strong agency partner who masters the entire and above all digital communication spectrum.

The role of the classic advertising agency as lead agency, which supposedly sets the brand management with a TV commercial and 2/1 pages, is dead. The role of a strong partner who is able to produce the best creative solutions in the above sense, is not it. This is also demonstrated by the increase in serious "Always On" tenders that want to jointly award campaign, social and content topics.

Torben Hansen, managing director Philipp and Keuntje

"I wanted someone I could still grab by the eggs after three years!"

PuK managing director Torben Hansen

Torben Hansen, managing director Philipp and Keuntje

I was a customer with Jever and Astra myself. And I wanted someone I could still grab by the eggs after three years! Someone who, together with me, felt responsible for what we had committed together. A partner who has the courage - and the explicit mandate - to turn me against himself from time to time, who argues passionately without having to squint at the budget - in the spirit of the brand. And who does not want to or cannot subordinate the buck to others. The more important the decisions - strategy, brand management, brand idea, etc. - and the greater their scope, the more important this "partner in crime" is. Only such a commitment creates the basis for responsibility - it is no different now and in the future. I remember Watzlawick's saying: "You can't not communicate". Those who do not want to commit themselves also say something. Doesn't mean that it can't be a model - but it always has consequences.

Stefan Schmidt, founder and managing director of Dieckertschmidt

Stefan Schmidt

As a representative of an agency, when asked whether lead agencies are still needed, I should immediately say "Yes!" reply. The examples are too clear. Brands that have been communicating and operating at the highest level for years are accompanied, advised, served and challenged by a long-term partner. At Nike it's Wieden + Kennedy, at Apple TBWA / Media Arts Lab, at Hornbach Heimat, at John Lewis Adam & Eve / DDB.

But there are also examples where there is so much strategic competence and disruptive courage in the company that you can invite several agencies to carry out the work. Hans-Christian Schwingen's Deutsche Telekom is one such example.

So what it definitely takes is lead! You have to check on a case-by-case basis whether it can only be found in the "lead agency" model or also on the marketer side. In any case, it leads to ruin if you do without lead agencies so that you are no longer challenged. Because you want to save yourself the pain of friction and the eternal struggle for something outstanding. Then you get compliant service providers who produce good, adapted, conventional pitch winners. But watch out: this approach also leads to pain. They just come a little later. But are much stronger!