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Cable Technology Feature Article

November 05, 2012

Agency or Employees, Who Knows More?

By Brittany Walters-Bearden, TMCnet Contributor

When running an ad or publicity campaign, companies often face the dilemma of deciding whether it is best to use in-house employees, who work only for the company, or an outside agency, which has more specialized knowledge and experience. For many, it comes down to whether it is more cost-efficient to pay an employee and pay for their benefits or to use a company on a retainer or per-project fee. One company has decided to settle its debate once and for all.

The Boston e-commerce company Wayfair is going to learn who knows more about the company, an outside ad agency or the employees that work for Wayfair. Wayfair, a company that sells furniture and home goods, is producing one ad through the San Francisco advertising Agency Penabrand and a second ad produced by its in-house video crew.

A Wayfair commercial, made by Penabrand, is currently being shown on cable networks such as HGTV and ABC Family. Penabrand is definitely the more experienced in this competition, having produced commercials for companies such Jeep and Ancestry.com. The two underdogs, Ian Eshelman and Ian Kilburn, are up for the challenge, even though their experience lies in product videos for the website and recruiting and training videos for new hires. This is definitely going to be a David versus Goliath matchup.

Wayfair will be spending $1 million through the end of the year on its cable advertising and will monitor whether the hardcore adverting from Penabrand is more effective with sales or if the “Two Ians” will have better results with their humorous approach. If one out performs the other, Wayfair will favor their advertising toward the more effective of the two. Other companies that have asked the same question may decide to take the cue from Wayfair and run similar competitions, or do what always seems to be the best alternative: combining the dedicated efforts of in-house employees with the expertise of an outside agency.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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