ORLANDO—Not that long ago, in-house agencies were where “old creatives went to die because they were done with the advertising industry. That has definitely shifted,” says the VP and COO of 140, Verizon’s in-house agency.
Now, because in-house talent at companies like Verizon are in close in proximity to corporate leadership, among other factors, “that is attracting creatives because they get to see more of their work actually go on air than when you work at an external agency,” Warren Chase explains in this Beet.TV interview at the recent Association of National Advertisers’ In-House Agency Conference.
It all begins with finding the right talent and defining—and, more to the point, confining—the in-house staffers’ day-to-day roles, according to Chase, who spent more than two decades at BBDO Worldwide and a brief stint at Wunderman. He makes the job of finding in-house prospects sound rather old-school compared to today’s Internet-intensive, algorithm-driven job application machinations.
“Most effective to us has been to pick up the phone and call the people that you worked with before,” says Chase. “This is a business where if you’re a creative, you’re in it for life, that’s what you do. You build multiple relationships with people throughout your career.”
Asked about creating an in-house organization from scratch and managing workflow and asset management, Chase cites the brilliance of the “business gaze” that was Verizon’s strategy. There is a scope of work, staffing plan and specific funding.
“I am not a catchall department that anybody can call within the Verizon organization and say, ‘hey I need help with a banner, can you design something for me?’ We don’t do that work. We keep all of that unfunded work at bay.”
The key to collaborating and getting along with Verizon’s external agencies rests on establishing clarity when it comes to responsibilities and swim lanes.
“We don’t want to be seen as the team that is going to come in and steal business from agencies,” Chase says. “We don’t pitch against other agencies. Agencies are not briefed to pitch against each other. We don’t find that that contributes to the overall strength of the relationship or the quality of the work that ends up going out.”
He’s excited that Verizon is “finally taking off the hat of being just a telecom and being a technology company,” including being the first company worldwide to launch 5G as a technology platform. “The things that you are going to be able to do with that are just unimaginable at this point.”