Why TV advertising needs the independent agency

Let’s begin with a stat. In terms of the number of clients on TV last year, Guerillascope placed seventh out of all media buying agencies (both independent and subsidised) with 58. This marks us out as not only the top independent agency, but also ahead of the likes of PHD, Carat, Havas, Starcom and OMD.

And this is not a one-off; already in 2014 Guerillascope sits comfortably in the top ten with 35 clients on air.

The point here is that, since the dawn of the new millennium, the TV advertising market has undergone something of an evolution. As technology has progressed, so too has the industry, attaching itself to new trends and possibilities to usher in a new era of unprecedented opportunity for advertisers.

And these changes have, as a by-product, instigated the gradual rise of the independent TV advertising agency.  The continuing explosion in commercial TV channels has dramatically widened choice and, consequently, segmented TV audiences into highly definable, niche viewing groups. This means it’s now easier than ever before to reach specific audiences of direct relevance to a product or service, but in order to achieve this a targeted, flexible approach to planning and buying is needed.

The limitations of large advertising agencies

Large network agencies such as OMD, Carat and ZeniphOptimedia are simply unable to adopt such an approach, with time unavailable to spend on smaller businesses requiring greater cost-efficiency and more individually tailored solutions for their TV venture.  Essentially, independent advertising agencies are in a position to offer a service larger corporations cannot facilitate.

The UK advertising landscape is monopolised by six worldwide powerhouses: These are Dentsu Aegis, Omnicom, Havas, WPP, Publicis Groupe and Interpublic Group. These conglomerates own and ultimately orchestrate the activity of subsidiaries such GroupM, PHD, Starcom, Carat, All Response Media and Mediacom, controlling multimillion-pound accounts for some of world’s highest profile brands.

In order to ensure the continued success of their clients, network agencies operate upon share deals with major sales houses – meaning a certain percentage of spend has to be allocated to the likes of ITV, Sky and Channel 4.

Such agencies also book TV advertising spots up to three months in advance of the campaign launch – restricting advertisers to rigid scheduling and limited channel mixes. If you’re a multinational business with millions to spend on brand visibility, then this type of service may be fine, but for smaller companies looking to grow through TV, a different, altogether more personal approach is needed.

Why independent TV agencies are vital

 Here’s our cue to shift the focus towards independent TV advertising agencies. Untethered by a chain of influence from above, ‘indies’ have more freedom to make decisive decisions and bold moves. Without the pressures of stakeholders and remote, top-level agreements to stifle innovative strategies, independent agencies have the liberty to truly put their clients first; catering for specific requirements with truly bespoke TV plans that pinpoint the channels, day parts and programming best suited for engaging particular audience demographics.

It’s about developing deeper relationships with clients; getting under the skin of a business to fully understand exactly what they need. It’s not just about boosting your own profit margins, but delivering genuine value to your client with love and care.

A smaller, independent TV agency is also more likely to be free from share deals and, in the case of Guerillascope, has the mobility to book late in the market – enabling access to the best TV airtime deals and quick response to last minute changes in scheduling.

The crux of the argument here is that independent TV advertising agencies have a key role to play in the 21st century market. They can offer fundamental planning and buying services simply unavailable with larger network agencies. You gain access to smaller yet tighter and driven teams where skills are given more opportunity to develop and flourish, whilst the chance to work with key decision makers is also an advantage independent agencies can offer.

Instead of being a small fish in a big pond, businesses that elect to go down the independent route invariably become a bigger fish in a smaller pond; the environment they’re entering perfectly designed through years of conditioning to provide all the materials needed to prosper and grow.

Give Guerillascope a call today on 0800 357 675 to find out how we can support your business's growth with targeted TV advertising, or simply complete our TV planning form with obligation.