There’s a great Digiday post about how Funny Or Die has worked with numerous brands to create branded content like the Rob Riggle Pepsi video (above).
Videos like this one aren’t new for Funny Or Die. The site has worked with a number of brands over the past few years. But what’s fascinating about the Digiday article is that it highlights the changing nature of the ad agency model. Here’s a quote from Colin Nagy, executive director of earned media at The Barbarian Group, the agency that worked with Pepsi, Riggle, and Funny Or Die to create this campaign.
We’re a creative agency, but partnering with Funny or Die made it a million times better. We would have had to source other comedians that we had to vet. Funny or Die helped us up the quality quotient. They got the creative idea, had access to the actors, and they also have a media platform that can help put stuff out into the world.
In other words, the agency did less than it might have done a decade ago.
That’s a really big deal, because for the last decade — really for as long as digital has been a part of the conversation — the question of the changing role of the agency has been a much-debated subject. I know I’ve covered at least a dozen panels at various industry events that purported to shed some light on what the agency was supposed to do in the digital age.
But the folks at Barbarian Group (a really smart agency, by the way) seem to have figured it out without too much stress. What they did was produce the campaign for Pepsi. And by produce, I mean make-it-happen. Barbarian identified the creative problem, came up with the solution, and then identified and sourced the necessary assets. Sure, Pepsi did some work that some people would consider an “agency job,” and you can say the same for Riggle and the folks at Funny Or Die. But all of that misses the point.
In essence, Barbarian (or any agency for that matter) is not unlike a Hollywood production company. Sure, they can produce a movie that a studio hands to them, but they can also do the reverse — develop a project and sell it to the studio, either as a pitch, script, or (if they have the cash) a finished product. In other words, they’re versatile, and that’s how they survive.
So what does an agency do in today’s online video ecosystem? Really, they do whatever it takes. Sometimes they need to produce the creative and buy the media, sometimes they just need to connect the right brand to the right platform with the right talent. And sometimes it’s a little bit of everything.