Is Product Development the Holy Grail of Agency Survival?
For the past several years or so, it's become fashionable for advertising agencies to dedicate a portion of their time to product development. Some do it for clients. Others do it all on their own. The poster child in this space is Nike FuelBand, a fitness product co-created with the brand's advertising agency RG/A. It was, and is, a runaway success.
Other agencies have dabbled with product creation. Crispin Porter + Bogusky developed a line of premium rum, Papa's Pilar. Deutsch LA, which has a program dedicated to entrepreneurial pursuits, created a floral delivery service, Bouqs, and an independent film entitled Between Us. Boston-based MMB launched a line of environmentally friendly children's clothing that donated proceeds to animal shelter charities. And Anomaly worked with outside consultant The Kind Group to create a line of skin-care products, Eos, currently being sold at Target.
All well and good - but why would an agency dedicate resources usually reserved for serving client business to product development?