• Craig Lovelidge

The In-House Model Is For ‘Boring Creatives’

Sir John Hegarty said “Great creative people are outsiders, as soon as they are on the inside, they stop being able to challenge.”

He also underlined the creative limitations of working In-House on a single brand:"You will spend your whole life working on f-ing baked beans. Now, I like baked beans, but I don’t want to spend my whole life working on them. Creatives need stimulation.” - Campaign



Things have changed Sir John Hegarty is a well respected name in the ad industry. He still writes. He does talks. He invests in start-ups. I still admire him for everything he has done for the ad industry, I was even briefly mentored by one of his best copywriters at BBH years ago.

With regard to “In-House Creative Being Boring” the argument doesn’t hold its own nowadays. Big Brands have lost trust for ad agencies because for years they misled, overcharged and pushed around their clients. And when this happens, like all relationships, things have to change. And things HAVE changed…


Creatives love being creative but… Many creative people have had enough of the ad agency life. (So too have other agency staff)

- Endless new business pitches - Late nights & weekends spent working - Little recognition for their efforts - Frustrated work is being constantly rejected - Old creative mindsets to ‘keep going, do more’

They’re tired of being tired. Worn out, if not burnt out, they quit their agencies and look towards freelancing…


Freelancing: The transition to In-House After a decent amount of sleep and a good dose of recharging the batteries from agency life, many great freelancers find their phone ringing from In-House agencies. They take the gig and suddenly realise that working In-House is actually pretty cool and rewarding.

They work for one client, they have more insight and data to work with, they’re closer to the business, people are more grown up and work relationships centre around doing better work.


Craftsmanship meets In-House reality The ad agency model has one thing that no-one can take away from it: Craftsmanship

The ability to think creatively, to pull ideas out of thin air and shape these thoughts into something that will stop people in their tracks IS an art in itself.

Now merge this ad agency creative mindset with an In-House model and you create a new breed of talent.


Sir John Hegarty was right: ‘Boring Creatives’ If you’ve never spent time pushing your ideas, crafting them to stand out from the daily dross, then yes, you’ll be an uninspired ‘boring’ creative.

But this is why In-House agencies are becoming so incredibly good. Ad agency creatives are jumping ship, they’re working In-House, they’re injecting their craft into the In-House work but they’re not killing themselves doing it!

They no longer their spend time and energy on the “new business pitch” merry-go-round.


Creativity breeds creativity With creative ad agency mindsets steering the In-House work, this has a knock-on effect to the teams and how they approach their work.

‘Bored’ In-House creatives suddenly change and become more receptive in pushing their own creative capabilities. Less experienced creative thinkers are learning skills from their more experienced ex-agency team members.

It’s accustomed to a mini MBA in creative training at no extra cost to the agency!


The ego has disbanded If there is one currency that creatives hold dear, it’s the ability to influence the thinking of others. Once seen as egotistical, this is taking on a positive approach In-House. There is a transparency of thinking that accompanies creative work and presentations to the client.

Both parties know what is at stake if poor work leaves the building, so great creative execution is a high priority. If there is a case to ‘keep going, do more’, it’s thanks to the client genuinely pushing the agency to outdo themselves. Now that’s definitely something worth putting in the extra hours for!


Do you have any other tips for Boring Creatives In-House? Leave a comment below. Don’t be shy, I’d really like to hear from you.


Originally post on LinkedIn

© 2017 by Craigology Consulting

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