BBC Creative on making great work in-house

Since its formation in 2016, BBC Creative – the Beeb’s in-house agency – has released a series of striking and beautifully crafted campaigns for the nation’s broadcaster. Eliza Williams talks to ECD, Laurent Simon

We are currently entering what appears to be a golden age for working in-house, as creatives move in their droves from traditional creative agencies over to client side. Just a few years ago, such a shift would have seemed incredible and today the concept that in-house teams can create work to rival that of independent shops still raises eyebrows: last year, the famously outspoken John Hegarty ruffled feathers when he pronounced that “working in-house you end up working with the most boring creative people…. The really great creative people are outsiders looking in.”

It is fair to say that not every piece of work coming from in-house teams is creatively brilliant (though nor is that from the traditional ad agencies either), but if you’re after an example that can quash Hegarty’s claims, then look no further than BBC Creative, the Beeb’s in-house marketing team, which now has over 150 staff and has created much sparkling work to promote the broadcaster’s wide and varied output.

Prior to the launch of BBC Creative in 2016, the marketing for the corporation had been solid but somewhat dull. The network tended to hide its lamp under a bushel – there was little sense of the sheer variety and enormity of content produced every day. And if you were going to name an exciting creative team working in TV, the answer would hands-down be 4creative, over at Channel 4, with the BBC unlikely to get much of a mention. But perhaps with an awareness that the war for viewers presented by Netflix and Amazon isn’t going away, the BBC has upped its game in recent years, both in its programming and also in its self-presentation.