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Are we entering the era of independent agencies?

The last few years have seen independent creative agencies rise up to take on the might of the networks. Here, Sam Smith, who has spent time on both sides of the fence, examines why their offering is right for the times

We’re an industry in constant change. Right now, that change is polarising. At one end we have the networks consolidating, acquiring, merging and investing. At the other, we have the independents forming, diversifying, partnering and innovating. While to many major global brands, networks provide the ultimate one-stop-shop to service billion-dollar budgets, I’ve increasingly found clients of ambitious brands pivoting towards the allure of a little bit of indie magic.

Having spent 15 years running independent agency BD Network and then almost five years at Fitch (the WPP network agency recently consolidated to form Landor), I am now back at independent agency Household, which is celebrating 20 years of its freewheeling existence this year. With time on both sides under my belt, I wanted to share what I believe to be the shifts that are influencing the rise of independents.