How An In-House Strategy Brings Together Data and Creative

Published On
Jun 01, 2022


Welcome to the Cheetah Digital Media Issues Series, where veteran journalist, consultant, and advisor Charlie Crowe interviews CMOs and global media directors to uncover what they see as the opportunities, challenges, and other issues surrounding the world of media and brands.

In this installment, Charlie speaks with Thomas Heilskov who is Global Digital Director at Arla Foods and CEO of The Barn, the company’s in-house agency responsible for media buying and content creation.

Reflecting on COVID, Heilskov discusses the growth that Arla has seen during the period (partly due to an increase in home baking and rocketing Lurpak butter sales). Arla’s focus is now on growing its global brands and a quicker shift to e-commerce.

Part of Arla’s strategy has been in-sourcing its digital media buying and a large proportion of their creative production. This is where its in-house team of global creatives, also known as The Barn, comes in.

“It’s really defined kind of what we call a new agency model or a new operating system for a digital world,” Heilskov said. “We really wanted to get an agency model where media creative and data would be coming more together, which was something we struggled a lot with in the past.”

He explains how working with different agencies made it difficult for Arla to take ownership of its data and use it for maximum impact within its campaigns. The company’s new operating approach opens up important opportunities for new workflows involving both data and media creative.

In this conversation, they also discuss the challenges associated with an in-housing model including maintaining innovation, acquiring the right talent and understanding emerging technologies. Heilskov suggests training, close partnerships with platforms and a culture of creativity and experimentation. Watch the full interview below and get more industry insights from Cheetah Digital here.



Jun 01, 2022
Cheetah Digital

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