Allstate, known for putting consumers “in good hands,” is now putting its advertising in those same hands. The insurance giant has formed a 200-person internal creative team–with plans to expand it–as it takes more marketing in-house. The move puts more pressure on its external agencies such as Leo Burnett, which has held the account for 62 years.
Leading the in-house drive is longtime agency executive David Hernandez, who recently left Ogilvy to join Allstate as its first-ever chief creative officer, tasked with creating content on a variety of advertising channels that the brand can deliver in real-time. Hernandez, who was Ogilvy's Chicago-based executive creative director, is working alongside Elizabeth Brady, Allstate's chief marketing officer who joined the company last year from kitchen and bath fixtures maker Kohler. Brady, who also spent time at agencies such as Publicis and BBDO, is known for building Kohler's in-house agency into an award-winning shop with a roughly 150-person staff.
“Adding David, and the chief creative officer [role] to the team is a huge step forward for us,” Brady says. “We’re able to take the narrative we want to talk about in terms of protection and put it in our own hands and start crafting that story.”
But the move by the major advertiser marks yet another setback for the agency industry, whose fees have come under pressure as more big marketers move work in-house.
In a report last year, the Association of National Advertisers stated that 78 percent of its members have in-house agencies. In the insurance category, several-big spending brands are relying on in-house teams. Progressive, which has long worked with Arnold, also relies heavily on its in-house agency, Ninety6. Similarly, Liberty Mutual told Business Insider earlier this year that it slashed its agency costs by 30 percent because it took more work in-house. The insurer works with Omnicom Group-owned Goodby Silverstein & Partners.